NYSCP Child Protection Conferences - North Yorkshire

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Child Protection Conferences

Child Protection Conferences

Child Protection Conferences bring together family members (and the child where appropriate), supporters/advocates and those professionals most involved with the child and family to plan and review how best to reduce risk to an individual child.

1Initial Child Protection Conference (ICPC) will be held whenever a child is likely to suffer significant harm.ICPCs will be held where the concerns of Section 47 enquiries are substantiated and the child/young person is judged to be continuing risk of significant harm.

Requests by involved professionals for a conference will normally be agreed. 

If Children’s Social Care decides not to proceed with a child protection conference and other professionals don’t agree, they should speak to the team manager in the first instance to resolve the issue and follow the NYSCP Professional Resolutions Practice Guidance where necessary.
2Conferences are convened within timescales.ICPC takes place within 15 working days of:
– Strategy discussion (where Section 47 enquiries initiated)
– Notification from another authority that a child has moved to North Yorkshire and the CSC Manager has agreed to accept the case from the other Local Authority

Where an Emergency Protection Order (EPO) is in place a strategy meeting will be convened to consider making Section 47 enquiries in order to establish the child’s safeguarding needs.  

First Review Child Protection Conference (RCPC) takes place within three months of the ICPC.

Further RCPCs are held at intervals of not more than six months (unless a pre-birth conference).
3All Child Protection Conferences will be chaired by an Independent Reviewing Officer (IRO)– IROs must be social work professionals with Social Work England registration
– IROs should have management or supervisory experience within CSC
– The IRO is independent of case management
– As far as possible the same IRO should chair all subsequent conferences for a child
– All cases progressing to an Initial Child Protection Conference will be referred for a Family Group Conference

All Child Protection Conferences held in North Yorkshire use the “Signs of Safety” approach which is intended to clearly identify risks and dangers to the child and to build safety for the child within their family and wider network.
4Membership of conferences is appropriate to the child’s case– Conferences are requested by a Children’s Social Care Team Manager
– Requests by involved professionals for a conference will normally be agreed with the Children’s Social Care Team Manager
– Arrangements for conferences will be planned to ensure maximum participation from key attendees which should include family members
– Professionals should have sufficient professional expertise and/or knowledge of the child/family to provide a report to the meeting and to contribute effectively the discussion
– Professionals who cannot attend should submit a written report and arrange a well-briefed agency representative to attend and speak to the report
– A professional observer must have agreement of the IRO and the child/parents or carer

CSC will support alternative arrangements for childcare to support parents/carers in their attendance wherever possible.
5Conferences will be quorateAs a minimum attendance there should be CSC and at least two other professional groups or agencies that have direct contact with the child

Exceptionally the IRO can decide to proceed with an inquorate conference, creating an interim protection plan and setting another early conference date – this should be noted in the conference minutes
6Parents will be involved in the conference process– The Social Worker should ensure parents/family have sufficient information and support to make a meaningful contribution to the meeting.  Professionals are expected to share their report with parents before the conference (see standard 9 for timescales)
– Written information about the conference system and the complaints procedure will be supplied to parents in advance of the  meeting
– Parents may bring a supporter or solicitor to the conference
– All equality issues will be taken into account
– The IRO will meet the parents before the Conference to confirm the above
7Involvement of family members in the conference process– The chair will meet with the child and parents in advance of the meeting to ensure they understand the purpose and the process and to ensure that arrangements are appropriate to help them fully participate in the meeting
– Explicit consideration should be given to the potential for conflict between family members and the need for children and adults to speak without other family members present
– Representation for an exclusion must be made to the IRO in advance of the meeting
– Exclusion should be for a minimum duration
– If excluded for the whole meeting, the IRO must write to the parent and explain how they can have their views heard, how they will be told the outcome and about the Complaints Procedure
– The IRO will provide edited minutes for the excluded parent
8Children may be involved in the conference process– The child must be given opportunity to contribute to the Conference, subject to their age and understanding – this may involve attendance
– The Social Worker should ensure that children have sufficient information and opportunity to make a meaningful contribution
– Written information about the conference/NYAS and complaints procedure will be provided for the family. 
– All children over 11 will be referred to NYAS who will make contact with the young person and support them where appropriate.
– Children who attend may bring a supporter or an advocate to the conference
– All equality issues will be taken into account
– The IRO will decide the nature and extent of the participation of a child
– The IRO will meet the child if they attend before the conference to confirm the above
– If the child does not attend, the Social Worker or the child’s representative will convey the child’s wishes.
9Agencies will all provide written reports to the conferenceAll reports should be made available to the Chair two working days before the ICPC and five working days before a RCPC.

All reports should be shared by the authors (or a representative) with parents (and child if appropriate) at least two working days before the ICPC and five working days before an RCPC.

All reports should comply with the standards for NYSCP reports to child protection conferences.

Reports from the Social Worker should be written in line with the template on the Children’s Social Care case management system.
10All conferences within North Yorkshire will follow a set formatAll Conferences will follow either an ICPC or RCPC agenda, which will be available in written form at the meeting.  This will ensure that the conference elicits:

– Reasons why the conference is being convened
– Summary of the incident(s) of concern
– The strengths of the family and wider network through which safety for the child may be maintained or established
– All available evidence obtained through Section 47 enquiries and assessment
– Written contributions from agencies and family members
– The views of all agencies represented at the conference
– The views expressed by family members

Child Protection Conferences are held in a Signs of Safety, Strengthening Families format.  This is intended to bring young people and their families to the heart of discussions regarding plans for the safety and welfare of children and young people.

Family members should be fully involved in the conference process wherever possible.

The professional members of the meeting will decide if the child should be subject to a Child Protection Plan having taken into account the views of other professionals.  However, the chairperson is authorised to override the decision if they feel it is inappropriate or unsafe.  In these circumstances an RCPC will be arranged to take place as soon as possible to review the decision.
11Outline Child Protection Plans are made when thresholds for concern for a child are metThe Conference minutes will record clearly the dissent to any decision and the reasons why.
12Where a Child Protection Plan (CPP) is decided onA Social Worker will be allocated for each child with a CPP.

The Conference will identify a multi-agency core group to develop and deliver the CPP.

The IRO (in consultation) will determine the category or abuse or neglect that best reflects the concern for the child.

The category used should reflect the primary concern – either sexual, physical, neglect or emotional abuse.

Exceptionally more than one category may be used – these will be audited by the IRO Manager(s)
13Where a Child Protection Plan is not made, plans to support the child must be considered by the conferenceThe Assessment will be continued after the conference (with appropriate consents in place)

The need for a Child and Family Plan must be considered and if agreed, the IRO will set the date of the Children and Family Plan Meeting and outline a Children and Family plan with conference members to hold until this time
14Administrative and complaint arrangements for Child Protection Conferences will be clearThe outline plan, signed by the IRO, with the decision letter should be sent to parents/child/agencies within one working day of the Conference.

Conference minutes will be sent out within 15 working days of the conference.

The minutes are confidential and require consent of the IRO or the IRO Manager to be passed to third parties.

The NYSCP Professional Resolutions Practice Guidance will be followed where there are any professional disagreements.
15Pre-Birth Child Protection Conferences will consider unborn childrenMust be held within 15 days of a strategy meeting decision that an unborn child is at risk

Midwifery Services must be represented in the meeting

The Social Work report must include the pre-birth assessment with conclusions and actions for the future (guidance in respect of pre-birth assessments can be found on the NYSCP website).

A CPP will be made where there is risk of significant harm.

The CPP will set out actions to be taken immediately after the baby’s birth with any intention to seek a Court Order as part of the plan.

An RCPC will be held within one month of the child’s birth or within three months of the date of the Pre-Birth Conference, whichever is sooner.
16Transfer Child Protection Conferences (TCPC)The TCPC will be held within 15 working days of being notified of the move and accepted by the CSC Team Manager

The Social Worker from the originating authority, with significant contributions to the CPP, will be invited to the TCPC

Receiving agencies must ensure they have obtained relevant information from their counterparts in the originating authorities

Only after the TCPC has been held may the original local authority discontinue its child protection plan

For transfer out Child Protection Conferences, NYC may only end the Child Protection Plan when the receiving Local Authority has held a Transfer Child Protection Conference in their area.

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