What is a Child Protection Enquiry?
It’s what we do when we need to make sure that children are OK. Sometimes adults or other young people hurt children or make them feel bad or afraid. This shouldn’t happen – if it happens to you, we’re here to help you and to find out what’s going on.
Who are “We”?
We are social workers. Our job is to listen to what you want to tell us. Sometimes a policeman will come with us. Please ask us questions at any time and tell us what you think should happen.
What Happens Next?
We will also need to talk to other people, such as your family. We need to find out what happened and why. The most important thing to remember is that you’ve done nothing wrong. You’re not in any kind of trouble. We want to see if you need our help.
When we’ve spoken to all the people we need to speak to, we will decide what should happen. It may be that nothing needs to happen.
Or, we may give your family some help and advice. Sometimes we need to call a meeting called a Child Protection Conference.
What is a Child Protection Conference?
A Child Protection Conference is a meeting which is called when an enquiry has shown that they are concerns about your safety or the safety of a member of your family.
What is the purpose of a Child Protection Conference?
The reason for the meeting is to decide whether or not there is a risk to your safety. If the meeting decides that there is a serious risk to your safety, a Plan will be put in place to ensure you are safe and properly cared for.
If the meeting decides there is not a serious risk to your safety, they might decide that your family needs some help and support and could make a Child in Need Plan. The Plan will be agreed by your parents/carers and all the professionals involved. This will ensure that everyone knows what they have to do to keep you safe. You will also be given a copy of the Plan.
Who will be at the Conference?
If you are considered old enough and you want to be, you will be invited. You may not be able to be present for the whole meeting, but the Social Worker and/or the Chair of the meeting will explain the reasons for this. You can have an adult friend, advocate or advisor with you if you wish. The Social Worker will talk to you about this.
- Your parents/carers will be invited and they can bring a friend, or legal representative with them if they wish.
- Social Workers.
- Teacher/Nursery staff
- Health Workers such as Health Visitor, G.P, Hospital Doctor, School Nurse etc.
- Police Officer.
- Other important people in your life may be there, e.g. Youth Worker, Connexions Advisor. You – Your views about what is happening and what you would like to happen are really important. Talk to the Social Worker about ways you can make sure everyone involved knows what you want to happen
What will happen at the Conference?
The point of the meeting is to make sure that all important matters about your safety are discussed, that everyone present has an opportunity to give their views and that careful decisions are made about how you and your family can be helped.
To ensure that everyone is treated with respect and everyone has a chance to give opinions without interruptions, a Chair Person will lead the meeting. He/she will talk to you in private before the meeting and will explain what will happen, how you will be involved and discuss any worries you may have. They will do the same with your parents/carers.
People at the meeting will have reports they have written about you and your family. You will be given parts of these reports, which relate to you. This should be in plenty of time for you to think about what they say.
How can my views be shared at the Conference?
You may feel worried about talking in front of a lot of people. The Chair will do all they can to help you and will not allow anyone to upset you in the meeting. They will make sure you are treated with respect.
You may like to write down your thoughts and feelings and the Chair could read this for you. The Social Worker or someone else you trust could help you at this. An adult you trust – which may not be your parents/carers – could say something on your behalf. Action for Children can provide you with an advocate to help you or speak for you.
If it has been decided that you should not attend the meeting, or you do not wish to attend, it is important that people know what you think. It is also important that people know what you think needs to happen to keep you safe and what should be in the Plan to support you and your family.
What is a Child Protection Plan
The Plan will set out what is needed to ensure you are safe and properly cared for.
- It says what Social Care and all other agencies WILL do to help you and your family.
- It says what you and your family can do to improve the situation.
- The Chair will make sure everyone understands what is expected of them.
- If a Child Protection Plan is made a smaller group of people will meet regularly to make sure everyone does what they should to keep you safe. This is called a Core Group. If people feel you can be involved in this, they will talk to you and agree how you can contribute.
- If a Child in Need Plan is made there will still be regular meetings and you can be involved in these.
An enquiry into your safety maybe upsetting and stressful. To help with this, please try and keep the following in mind:
- Everyone involved will try to do their best for you and your family
- It can be helpful to talk to someone you trust who you know is sensible and will not talk to others about your business.
- If you have a complaint about your social worker or chair of the conference you can contact:
Karen Mayo (Poole Children’s Services Complaints Manager)
Telephone Number: 01202 714740
Teresa Salmon (Bournemouth Social Care Complaints Manager)
Telephone Number: 01202 458712
Tel: 0808 800 5000
Web address: www.nspcc.org.uk
National Youth Advocacy Service
Tel: 0800 616101
Web address: www.nyas.net
Tel: 0800 1111
Web address: www.childline.org.uk