In this section the decision-making process for concluding s47 enquiries is outlined. Key to this process is establishing ‘significant harm’ and making the decision in terms of three possible S47 enquiries determinations
The initial child protection conference follows s47 enquiries where there are concerns of continuing risk of significant harm to a child/ren - Determination 3.
Procedures, in relation to the conference include:
Timing of the initial child protection conference
Quoracy for the child protection conference
Duration of conference
Conferences for sibling groups
Pre-birth child protection conference
The following procedures are essential to both securing child-centred practice and that the voice of the child is heard at the conference:
the role of the conference chair and social worker including:
preparation and after the conference.
Determining whether it is in the child’s best interests not to attend a child protection conference.
Involving parents in the child protection conference is important because they have a significant contribution to make. If this is to be effective, then practitioners should be clear about their own roles and responsibilities in:
preparing the parent/caregiver to participate in the conference
supporting parents or caregivers to participate in the child protection conference
immediately prior to conference
immediately after the conference
determining whether it is in the child’s best interests for a parent to attend a child protection conference
accommodating family members
Preparing reports for conference is essential in order to inform decision-making. This part of the Procedures outlines:
what should be included in the social worker’s report
contributing practitioner reports including specific information required from different agencies.
agencies responsibilities for sharing reports with the family
The procedures relating to the initial child protection conference: process are detailed including:
chairing the child protection conference
confidentiality and the sharing of information at child protection conferences
practitioner requests to withhold confidential information from the family
circumstances when information must be disclosed
Process details are include:
reaching a decision
decision making at child protection conferences where consensus is not reached
deferring a decision at a child protection conference
If Conference decision 2 is made the conference participants must list the child’s name on the Child Protection Register.
placing a child’s name on the child protection register
the consequences of placing a child’s name on the child protection register
children looked after and registration
accessing the register
If the child’s name is placed on the Child Protection Register then the conference participants must develop the outline care and support protection plan and the chair must identify the social worker: (care and support protection plan co-ordinator). The social worker’s role and responsibilities are detailed.
There are several other tasks for the initial child protection conference and post conference. These include managing:
records of the child protection conference
complaints from parents, caregivers and children about the decisions and functioning of a child protection conference