Our Family Solicitor in Middlesbrough explains what happens at a Child Protection Meeting;-
The child protection meeting will be led by the Chair; this is an independent safeguarding officer who makes sure that the meeting follows the correct schedule.
There will also be a minute-taker at the child protection meeting, who writes down everything that happens, to allow a report to be provided to everyone involved.
At the meeting it has to be decided whether the child is at “continuing risk of significant harm”.
The test for this is in three parts;-
1. The child can be shown to have suffered ill-treatment or impairment of health or development as a result of physical, emotional or sexual abuse or neglect, and the professionals believe that this is ongoing or is likely to continue
2. The professionals believe that the child is likely to suffer ill-treatment or impairment of health or development as a result of physical, emotional or sexual abuse or neglect;
3. The child has suffered neglect.
If the child is identified as being at risk, then the professionals at the conference will decide if the child;
a. Should be made the subject of a child protection plan;
b. Should be considered as ‘a child in need’;
c. Should be neither of the above and no action is required.
What is a Child in Need?
A child can be a “child in need” without being subjected to a Child Protection Plan. This is usually the case if the level of concern is not high or if there have already been improvements within the family environment.
If a “child in need” plan is needed, it will be drawn up at the meeting and it will then be reviewed every 6 months.
What is a Child Protection Plan?
A Child Protection Plan is an agreed plan which states how matters should progress and what action should be taken. This could be action required by the parents, carers or professionals, and this allows for interagency help.
If a Child Protection Plan is needed then the Chair will determine the category or categories of abuse, which are detailed below.
The conference must agree on the appointment of a key worker, and decide when the first Core Group Meeting will take place. A Core Group Meeting allows the family and professionals to meet on a regular (monthly) basis in a more informal setting, the aim being to monitor progress and to offer support. These meetings usually take place at the parents’ home, the child’s school or sometimes at the local Social Services’ office.
The Plan will agree upon the duties and responsibilities of the Core Group members and the family.
Categories of abuse
When it has been decided that a Child Protection Plan is needed, the Chair of the CPC will decide on one or more of the following categories by which the child will be made subject of the Plan;-
Definition of Neglect; Persistent or severe neglect of a child, failure to protect from danger or extreme failure to carry out aspects of care resulting in impairment of child’s health or development, including non-organic failure to thrive.
Definition of Physical injury; Actual or likely physical injury to a child or failure to prevent injury or suffering.
Definition of Sexual abuse; Actual or likely sexual exploitation of a child or adolescent. The child may be dependent and/or developmentally immature.
Emotional abuse; Actual or likely severe adverse effect upon the emotional or behavioural development of a child, due to persistent or severe emotional ill treatment or rejection. This is only used as a category where it is the sole or main form of abuse.
In some circumstances, the child may need to be made the subject of a plan, due to the severity of the situation. It may not always appear that the category reflects the situation, but the category nearest to the situation will be used, because one must be chosen.
Involvement with Social Services can be a very worrying time and you might have been told that you do not need a solicitor. It is very important that you do seek independent legal advice before agreeing to a working agreement or placement. We offer free no obligation initial appointments to everyone and during that appointment we will assess you for legal aid.
If you would like legal advice or help with your family case, please contact our Family Team who will work hard to get you the best possible result in your case.
Read our reviews – Our Child Protection Solicitor Pam Kandola is a highly recommended Solicitor.
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