Back to Decision making and initial child protection conferences

Preparing reports for conference

When preparing reports for an initial child protection conference, it is important practitioners are aware the tasks for the conference are:

  1. making sense of the information obtained from the family and practitioners to identify concerns and strengths;
  2. drawing on professional judgement to decide whether the child is at continued risk of significant harm;
  3. deciding whether the child’s name should be placed on the child protection register and that they need a care and support protection plan.

Reports should be focused on providing relevant, proportionate information enabling the conference participants achieve these tasks.

It is important that significant conference time is spent on the conference tasks rather than sharing information.

Agency representatives must therefore come to the conference:

The social worker’s report

The social worker’s report should:

utilise the domains and dimensions of Framework for the Assessment of Children in Need and their Families;

The report itself should include:

The social worker must be prepared to provide a clear verbal summary and analysis to the conference to help decide what is needed to protect the child.

Pointers for Practice: Preparing A Social Work Report for Conference Invisible Children

Contributing practitioner reports

When preparing reports practitioners should:

The written report, should summarises the agency’s:

Health reports

Where health advice is crucial to the conference deliberations, the conference should be scheduled to ensure that the examining doctor(s) or locality/community paediatrician is able to attend.

If due to exceptional circumstances, the doctor cannot attend, he or she must submit a written report and the chair of the conference should read the health findings, in full, to the conference.

Only a health practitioner should undertake any further interpretation of the report, although the conference can, and should, explore the extent to which any diagnosis excludes any other alternatives to explain apparent abuse or injuries to a child.

If the conference is not clear as to the contents or the interpretation of the report, arrangements should be made by the chair to seek clarification.

Child protection medical reports may be discussed within conferences, but this cannot be distributed with reports of the conference and good practice would be for these reports to be summarised. There is an expectation that the contents of the child protection medical report will have been shared and discussed with the family in advance of the conference, whether the doctor can attend or not.

Any delay should not prejudice the safety of the child.

In cases of conflicting health opinion, the chair should request that the doctors involved review their findings jointly with the interests of the child in mind. If they are unable to establish common ground, they should be asked to explain their differences. Their views must be considered in the context of the other information available. If resolution is not possible, a further expert opinion may need to be commissioned to review the Health findings in order to offer a definitive opinion.

Pointers for Practice: Preparing Reports for Conference

Specific information required from different agencies

If more than one child in the family is being considered at the conference, it is important that each child is treated individually and that the impact of parenting capacity and family environmental factors are considered in relation to EACH child. Each child will have an individual report.

Health practitioners including CAMHS

Health practitioners will collate all relevant Health information. They should provide chronologies and reports which collate all the relevant health information appropriate to that practitioner and make clear links between events and their significance for the child. For example, the consequences for the child of non-attendance at physiotherapy sessions.

This should include information about adult caregivers if pertinent to the enquiry.

The information should be presented in a manner that non-health practitioners can understand. ‘a child is on 93 centile for weight’ means little unless it is specified this means the child is overweight as opposed to 98 centile which means the child is obese.

Information pertaining to parents and caregivers should be included in so far as it effects parental capacity to adequately provide for the health, safety and well-being of the children.

There may be instances where multiple health professionals will be invited to provide information.

GPs

Must always receive an invitation and provide a written report. This report should be evidenced-based, relevant and child-focused and make specific the child’s health needs and how they are and are not being met by the parent or carer. For example, a pattern of ear infections which do not appear to respond to medication may be a result of the parent indicating to the GP they ‘forgot’ to complete the course. They should always receive a copy of the records made.

Education and school practitioners

Education practitioners should provide a written report that includes information about educational provision, school attendance, attainment and caregiver’s engagement. They must also comment on other aspects of the child’s development, such as their social relationships, social presentation, identity, emotional and behavioural development.

Police

Must check records of all known adults who have a significant involvement with the child and check domestic abuse records. Their report needs to contain all previous convictions relating to drugs or alcohol, violence including domestic abuse, sexual offences or dishonesty, as well as details of other incidents, cautions or information that may be relevant and specify how the offences are likely to impact on the safety, care and support needs of the child.

National Probation Service and Community Rehabilitation Companies (CRCs)

Will check records including licence conditions and provide a written report specifying how the offences are likely to impact on the safety, care and support needs of the child. It is vital that consideration is given to the role probation plays in supporting this process at the earliest stages.

Adult services

[Practitioner(#tooltip) should be prepared to report on their involvement with the adult service user and any adult-oriented issues such as learning disability, domestic violence, drug and alcohol misuse or mental health concerns that may affect parental ability and motivation to meet the safety, care and support needs of the child.

Representatives of other agencies

Will prepare and provide written reports as appropriate. They must ensure that the reports are child-centred and focus on the way in which their knowledge of socio-economic factors and parenting capacity are impacting the health and development of their child.

Sharing reports with the family

All report authors, from all relevant agencies must share, discuss and explain their reports with families at least the day before the conference. They should use communication methods commensurate with the needs of the various family members.

This ensures: