5.2 Initial Child Protection Conference
Last reviewed in July 2020
Date of next review July 2022
Purpose of the Initial Child Protection Conference
Following section 47 enquiries, an initial child protection conference brings together family members (and the child where appropriate), with the supporters, advocates and practitioners most involved with the child and family, to make decisions about the child’s future safety, health and development. If concerns relate to an unborn child, consideration should be given as to whether to hold a child protection conference before the child’s birth.
The conference must consider all siblings and all the children in the household, even if concerns are only being expressed about one child.
In some cases, it may be appropriate to develop a Child Protection Plan for only one (or more) of the children within a household. If significant concerns arise subsequently about a sibling (or others in the household), a further Initial Conference must be held. Where practicable, it should be combined with the Child Protection Review Conference concerning the child who already has a Child Protection Plan.
Timing of Initial Child Protection Conference
The Initial Child Protection Conference should take place within 15 working days of the Strategy Discussion or, where more than one Strategy Discussion took place, of the Strategy Discussion at which the Section 47 Enquiry was initiated.
The Initial Conference should, where possible, be held before expiry of an Emergency Protection Order, if further legal action is planned.
Where a Child Assessment Order has been made the conference should be held immediately on conclusion of examinations and assessments.
In exceptional circumstances, the Initial Child Protection Conference may be purposefully delayed. Authorisation and rationale for the delay must be recorded on the child’s file. It is good practice for a senior Manager in Children’s Services to arrange to notify all relevant agencies and ensure that risks to the child are monitored, and an interim plan is in place to safeguard the child.