LEGAL EAGLE: Children can be put on register

A child protection case conference.
A child protection case conference.
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I was in an abusive relationship for several years with a former partner. This relationship has ended but social services have become involved as my two young children, aged 8 and 6 were present during some of the arguments. My children witnessed a particular fight and told a teacher at their school. My ex-partner left our home but I have now been asked to attend a meeting with staff from the childrens’ school, a social worker and a health visitor. What kind of meeting is this and what will happen?

Where there are significant concerns regarding a child the Social Services Department may hold a Child Protection Case Conference. This is a meeting with all those concerned with the child including the parents, family members and all professionals involved with the child who have a significant contribution to make. The purpose of a Child Protection Case Conference is to share information concerning the child’s welfare and for key people in the child’s life to work together to improve that child’s circumstances. The only formal decision a Child Protection Case Conference can make is whether or not the child’s name should be placed on the Child Protection Register and, if so, under which category. Children can be registered in the Child Protection Register under one or more of the following categories: physical, emotional, or sexual abuse or neglect.

Every Local Authority is obliged to maintain a Child Protection Register, which lists all the children in the area who are deemed to be at continuing risk of significant harm and for whom there is a Child Protection Plan. The main purpose of the register is to make agencies and professionals aware of the children judged to be at risk of serious harm and in need of active safe guarding.

If the child’s name is placed on the Child Protection Register at an initial Child Protection Case Conference that child’s circumstances will be reviewed at a Review Child Protection Case Conference. When a Review Conference takes place depends on the circumstances of the case but it is not unusual for there to be three or six months between each conference.

If a child’s name is placed on the Child Protection Register the case conference will devise a Child Protection Plan. The conference will also nominate a Core Group which will comprise of the key persons involved in the child’s life. The Core Group will meet on more than one occasion before the date of the review Child Protection Case Conference and will undertake primary responsibility for implementing the Child Protection Plan.

l Ben Hoare Bell LLP has specialist Family Solicitors who can offer advice in situations such as this. To speak to a specialist Solicitor please ring 0191 565 3112 or email advice@benhoarebell.co.uk. Visit www.benhoarebell.co.uk for more information.