We know that being involved in the child protection system can be a stressful time for families. It’s important that you have an understanding of what is going on and what is happening at every stage and why, and also that you know where you can get independent help and support.
Sometimes as part of a child protection investigation, we will need to have a meeting involving you and those working with you to discuss what has been happening and ensure plans are in place to help to protect your child and meet any identified needs. This meeting will also consider whether or not there is the need to place your child’s name on the Child Protection Register.
These meetings are known as Initial Child Protection Conferences. The meeting’s purpose is to:
- allow people to share information about a child for whom there are child protection concerns
- jointly assess that information and the risk to the child
- determine whether there is a likelihood of significant harm through abuse or neglect that needs to be addressed through a multi-agency Child Protection Plan
The meeting will be chaired by a senior person experienced in child protection. Also attending the meeting will be key professionals who have knowledge of your child and family.
These may include:
- social workers
- school staff
- housing staff
- health visitor or school nurse
- nursery staff
- worker from a voluntary organisation
You will be invited to attend the meeting. Where it is considered age appropriate your child will also be invited to the meeting. In every case we will ensure that the meeting includes either your child’s views or observations from people who know and have been working with them.
At the discretion of the Chair, you can bring someone to support you, such as a family member, friend, or an advocacy worker. Your contribution is very important to this meeting and your views will be listened to. You may be given a form to complete to help record your views and help to complete this if required.
At the meeting there will also be a full discussion about what has happened and why there was a need for a child protection investigation. During the meeting, the professionals attending will usually provide a written report about their knowledge of and involvement with you and your family. Everyone, including you, will have the opportunity to contribute to the discussion and ask any questions.
When everyone has had an opportunity to contribute, decisions will be made about what should happen next. Your child’s wellbeing will always be at the centre of any decisions made.
The main priority is to make sure your child is safe and will be properly cared for. It’s also important that, if you need help to do this, appropriate support is made available.
You have the right to disagree with any decision made at an Initial Child Protection Conference and to have your disagreement noted. If you disagree with the decision to place your child’s name on the Child Protection Register or not to place your child’s name on the Child Protection Register, you have the right to appeal and request a review of this decision by writing to the Head of Social Work Services.
The request for a review of the decision should be made, in writing, within five working days of the original decision. Where necessary, your social worker or other staff member can advise and support you.
You should contact Head of Service: Children & Families and Criminal Justice, Educational and Social Services, East Ayrshire Council, London Road, Kilmarnock, KA3 7BU.
If at any time you feel that you need legal advice on what you or your child’s rights are you can contact: