7.4 Pre-Birth Conference

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Date of last review July 2022

Date of next review July 2025



The Pan Sussex Child Protection and Safeguarding Policy and Procedures Group recommend the following statement is read out at all relevant meetings.

Professional Difference Statement:

It is acknowledged that when working in the arena of safeguarding, it is inevitable that from time to time there will be professional differences.  This is a positive activity and a sign of good professional practice and effective multi-agency working.   During this meeting practitioners, irrespective of their seniority are encouraged to say if they feel that decisions, practice or actions do not effectively ensure the safety or well-being of the child/children.


A Pre-Birth 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:

  • The 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 on Child Protection Plans
  • A person identified as presenting a risk, or potential risk, to children, lives in the household or is known to be a regular visitor.

Other risk factors to be considered are:

  • The impact of risk factors relating to 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 a pregnant person and/or the putative father 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 as soon as is practicable and ideally no later than 28 weeks gestation, 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 (see Membership of Child Protection Conference Procedure). In addition representatives of the midwifery and relevant neo-natal services should also be invited.

Parents or carers should be invited as they would to be any other Child Protection Conferences and should be fully involved in plans for the child's future. 

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. Read more about implementing a Child Protection Plan at Chapter 6 - The Child Protection Plan 


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.

  • In Brighton & Hove and East Sussex, the plan should be reviewed at a Review Conference within 3 months of the child's birth.
  • In West Sussex, the Child Protection Plan should be reviewed at a Review Child Protection Conference (RCPC) scheduled to take place no later than 12 weeks (3 months) from the ICPC, ideally before the child is born. The chair should consider convening an RCPC sooner than 3 months after the ICPC if this is likely to fall close to the child’s estimated date of delivery. If the decision at the first RCPC is for the unborn or new-born child to remain on a child protection plan, consideration should be given to convening an earlier further RCPC (i.e. within 3 months of the child’s birth or first review) given the vulnerability of a new-born baby and importance of the early days of their life.

The Conference Chair will decide the date.

Pre-birth planning for care leavers

This page is correct as printed on Friday 24th of May 2024 05:50:30 PM please refer back to this website (http://sussexchildprotection.procedures.org.uk) for updates.