Child Protection Conferences Guide for Professionals
Professionals who regularly attend Child Protection Conferences will be familiar with the Signs of Safety, strengths based, solution focused approach to working with children and their families. It is a questioning model that recognises families’ own expertise in their situations and takes them on a safety-planning journey to their own solutions, supported by their networks and professionals involved with their family. The approach highlights strengths as well as difficulties in families and ensures that families and professionals have a common approach and work closely together.
From 1st October 2020, the forms on which Child Protection Conferences are recorded and the order in which things are discussed in the meeting will change.
Child Protection Conferences will continue to be recorded live in the meeting by Business Support colleagues typing on to a form presented on a screen for all to see and to amend as necessary. However, the forms will change from, what was often referred to as, ‘the booklet’, to a server based computer programme system (Liquid Logic Children’s System – LCS) that has been specifically designed to support the Signs of Safety approach.
The LCS Signs of Safety module has been adopted by the Children and Young People’s Service for use across most of the services it provides, including Child Protection Conferences and Looked After Reviews.
Previous – ‘Booklet’ New – ‘LCS’ based system
The Conference Chair will open the meeting in the usual way and then the agenda will be as follows:
- Family and Network Details
- Worries and What’s Working Well – what has got us to this point? What are we worried about? What is working well?
- Child and Parent’s Involvement (in the meeting)
- Analysis and Judgement – Danger Statement 1 (up to 4 as needed) and Scaling for each Danger Statement
- Overall Progress and Safety Scale
- Conference Decision
- Child Protection Plan – Immediate Safety; Bottom Lines; Timeline (what needs to happen by when)
- Who is involved in the plan?
- Plan Rules – To address each concerning behaviour in turn. Moving from what is working well on to stressors and triggers for ‘red flag’ or emergency events and consider who will do what when problems arise
- Recording and Demonstrating the Plan – Has a Children’s version of the plan been created and shared with the child? How are the family demonstrating use of the plan? (Safety Journal / WhatsApp group / Facebook Group / Other)
- Conference Actions – What needs to be done? What do professionals need to do and who will do it? What do the family/network need to do and who will do it?
- Core Group Members and dates of subsequent meetings.
Due to COVID-19 Child Protection Conferences will continue to be held virtually for the foreseeable future. Professionals are strongly encouraged to attend the meetings by video with the camera switched on if possible so that families can see who is talking to them – it is easier to see a smile than to hear it in a voice! Given the nature of virtual conferences, it is more important than ever to provide reports to Child Protection Conferences as soon as possible before the meeting but certainly 2 days before an ICPC and 5 days before an RCPC as per the Local Safeguarding Partnership procedures. This gives the Conference Chair an opportunity to prepare adequately for the meeting.
I hope that you find the new LCS based system and workflow helpful to use when working with children and their families in Child Protection Conference meetings. Do feel free to offer constructive feedback as we become used to the new process.
A guide to Child Protection Conferences for families has also recently been completed which I have embedded for your information and for you to use with families if you wish. The guide offers information about Child Protection Conferences in general for families and is written in everyday accessible language.