If there are welfare concerns relating to your children you may receive a letter asking you to attend an Initial Child Protection Conference, but what exactly is this and what will happen?

A Child Protection Conference is a discussion about the family and any concerns the Local Authority has about the children. An independent chairperson will be in charge of the meeting.

All the professionals who are involved with the family will be invited to attend or provide a report. This could include the child’s Health Visitor, GP, police, school as well as the social worker. Parents will be asked to attend, and potentially other family members. There will be a discussion as to what the concerns are, and what needs to be done to minimise these concerns.

Certain people may be excluded from the conference, or there could be separate meetings for the parents for example if there is domestic abuse.

The child may already had a S.47 investigation or Pre-Proceedings. The professionals will then each make a decision as to whether the child needs to be on a Child Protection plan, and if so under which category.

Will I see a record of the meeting?

A parent can request the minutes of the meeting from the Chairperson. These are confidential and should only be shared with a legal representative.

What is a Child Protection Plan?

A Child Protection Plan is a plan that is in place under a specified category of harm, such as physical harm, emotional harm, sexual harm or neglect.

The plan will:-

  • Assess the likelihood of the child suffering harm,
  • Identify ways to protect the child from the risk,
  • Set short term and long term goals to reduce the risk of harm and protect the welfare of the child,
  • Confirm what the expectations are of the parents and professionals,
  • Set out how this will be monitored.

There will be regular reviews to determine whether the child needs to remain on a Child Protection plan and if the child is no longer deemed to be, or believed to be at significant risk of harm they will be stepped down from child protection.

When a child reaches the age of 18 there should be a review so the plan can be ended.

Does the child attend the conference?

The child is not required to attend, but they may if they wish to. It is possible for the Chairperson to refuse to allow the child to attend if they are too young to understand or if it felt it would cause them harm to attend. In this situation, they may be able to write a letter to be read at the conference that expresses their thoughts and wishes.

If a child does attend, they can request someone attend with them to help them put their views forward. If they are an older, they may be able to instruct a solicitor to attend with them.

Can I take a solicitor with me?

A parent is entitled to take a legal representative with them to the conference, however their legal representative will not be able to speak to the conference on the parent’s behalf. If an issue comes up and the parent would like legal advice, they can ask to speak to their legal advisor in private.

The parent may also be able to take a trusted family member or friend to offer support, but they need to ensure this person will keep the details confidential.

Other support

  • If English is not a parent’s first language then they should notify the social worker and request an interpreter attend the conference.
  • If a parent has any learning difficulties or health issues and needs special arrangements or additional support they should notify the social worker as soon as possible.

Can I get legal aid?

A parent may be entitled to Legal Help to cover their solicitors fees. This will depend on their financial situation as it will be means tested.


If you contact us we will be able to advise on your individual circumstances in relation to funding and to answer any additional questions. Please contact our office to speak to our Children Department on 01522 561020

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