5.3 Pre-Birth Conference

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This chapter is currently under review - May 2020



A pre-birth child protection conference should be conducted as if it were an Initial Child Protection Conference concerning an unborn child.


A pre-birth conference should be held where a:

  • Pre- birth assessment gives rise to concerns that an unborn child may be at risk of Significant Harm;
  • Previous child has died or been removed from parent(s) as a result of Significant Harm;
  • A child is to be born into a family or household which already have children subject to a Child Protection Plan;
  • A person identified as presenting a risk, or potential risk, to children resides in the household or is known to be a regular visitor.

Other risk factors to be considered are:

  • The impact of parental risk factors such as mental ill-health, learning disabilities, substance misuse and domestic violence;
  • A mother under 16 for whom there are concerns regarding her ability to self-care and/or to care for the child.

All agencies involved with pregnant women who have concerns should consider the need for an early Referral to Children's Social Care, so that assessments are undertaken, and family support services provided, as early as possible in the pregnancy.

Timing of Conference


The pre-birth conference should take place ideally at least 3 months before the due date of delivery, so as to allow as much time as possible for planning support for the pregnancy and the birth of the baby.


Where there is a known likelihood of a premature birth, the conference should be held earlier.



Those who normally attend an Initial Child Protection Conference must be invited (seeMembership of Child Protection Conference Procedure). In addition representatives of the midwifery and relevant neo-natal services should also be invited.

The Development of a Pre-Birth Child Protection Plan


If a decision is made that the child requires a Child Protection Plan, the main cause for concern must determine the category of concern and a protection plan be outlined to commence prior to the birth of the baby


The Core Group must be established and is expected to meet prior to the birth, and certainly prior to the baby's return home after a hospital birth.

Timing of Review Conference Following a Pre-Birth Conference


The Child Protection Plan only comes into effect when the child is born and the plan should be reviewed at a Review Conference scheduled to take place within 3 months of the child's birth. The conference chair will determine the date.

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This page is correct as printed on Monday 25th of May 2020 12:13:55 PM please refer back to this website ( for updates.