Understanding Child Protection Measures
If the Local Authority and Children’s Services are concerned about the safety and welfare of any child in your care, they may begin Child Protection measures. This can involve any of the following:
- Initial Assessment This first assessment should be undertaken by Children’s Services and the Local Authority within 7 days of concerns being raised. If Children’s Services consider that no further action is required, the matter will conclude. If further investigation is needed, the matter will progress to Core Assessment
- Core Assessment This assessment should be undertaken within 35 days. It may include Children’s Services obtaining advice or information about you and your family from other professionals, such as doctors, to enable them to understand your situation more fully.
- S47 Assessment If Children’s Services consider that your child may be at risk of significant harm, a full assessment will take place. The Core Assessment will form part of this. This investigation may involve Children’s Services wanting to speak with your child alone.
- Child in need meetings (CIN) Children’s Services may assess your family and decide that your child is in need. Meetings may be arranged to discuss any support that is needed and monitor your child’s progress
- Child Protection Conference A meeting to discuss whether your child should be the subject of a Child Protection Plan. Various professionals who have a connection with you and your family will be asked to attend, such as your GP, health visitor, representatives from schools and the police. A social worker allocated to your child will also attend. The meeting is chaired by an independent reviewing officer (IRO), who is a member of the Local Authority. The IRO will consider whether a Plan is required and will identify any concerns, such as Neglect, Emotional Harm, Physical Harm and/or Sexual Harm. Once the decision has been made that a Child Protection Plan is required, further Child Protection meetings will be scheduled on a 3 monthly and thereafter 6 monthly basis. At each subsequent meeting, the matter will be reviewed and a decision will be made as to whether the Plan is still required.
- Core Group Meeting Interspersed with Child Protection Conferences, there will also be more frequent Core Group meetings. These will normally be attended by you and the Social Worker and any other key individuals. The meeting is designed to review progress and to consider ongoing support or concerns.
- Looked After Child meetings (CLA) Interspersed with Child Protection Conferences, there will also be more frequent Core Group meetings. These will normally be attended by you and the Social Worker and any other key individuals. The meeting is designed to review progress and to consider ongoing support or concerns.
- Letter Before Proceedings This is the stage before Court proceedings. The Local Authority will ask you to attend a meeting with a Solicitor and will try to work with you and your family, to improve the situation. If, however, Children’s Services and the Local Authority believe that your children are suffering or are likely to suffer harm as a result of your care, they may decide to apply to the Court. These proceedings are known as Care and Supervision Proceedings.