Back to Decision making and initial child protection conferences

The decision-making process at an initial child protection conference

SUMMARISE INFORMATION ABOUT RISK OF SIGNIFICANT HARM

Table down arrow

MAKE SENSE OF THE INFORMATION TO ESTABLISH WHY PRACTITIONERS ARE CONCERNED

Table down arrow

DECISION-MAKING:

IN OUR PRACTITIONER JUDGEMENT IS THE CHILD AT CONTINUING RISK OF HARM?

Table down arrow

REGISTRATION

Table down arrow

DEVELOP OUTLINE CARE, SUPPORT AND PROTECTION PLAN:

The practitioner participants at the conference should determine, based on the evidence available:

and

In such cases the test should be that either:

or

The views of the child and family in relation to the risks of harm and their views must be taken into account, but it is the practitioners at the conference who will make one of the following decisions:

When making these decisions practitioners must recognise:

Conference decision 1: Child not at continuing risk of harm but may have needs for care and support

If this decision is agreed by all partners, the parents should be encouraged to continue with the wellbeing assessment under Part 3 of the Social Services and Well-being (Wales) Act 2014 to determine what care and support might best help to promote the child’s well-being.

Conference decision 2: The child is experiencing or at risk of harm is registered and made subject of a care and support protection plan

A care and support protection plan should follow the requirements set out under Part 4 Section 54 of the Social Services and Well-being (Wales) 2014 Act.

In addition to the requirements under Part 4 the overall aim of the plan is to:

Reaching a decision

Analysing and making sense of the information, shared at the conference, should inform decision-making as well as providing a basis for future planning for the child.

The conference should follow a structured process to reach a decision as to whether to include a child’s name on the child protection register.

The process should be as follows:

The discussion at the conference should not be allowed to focus solely on registration. Time and attention should be given to the development of a care and support protection plan if required.

Each person at the conference, other than family members or people who are there in the role of support for parents, should express a view about the need for a care and support protection plan and registration. Members of CAFCASS Cymru would not normally be expected to express an opinion regarding registration.

Parents, children (where appropriate) and family members should also be asked for their views, but it is the practitioners who would be responsible for making the final decision.

Pointers for Practice: Practitioners Attending Child Protection Conferences - Key Messages

Decision making at child protection conferences where consensus is not reached

At many conferences there will be a consensus for or against registration and the category/categories of registration.

In the event of a lack of consensus:

The records of the conference should reflect the difference of view expressed at the conference, including any concerns of the chair regarding the appropriateness of the decision.

Where the issues of a lack of consensus relate to practitioner differences the Regional Safeguarding Board resolution of professional differences may need to be used at a later date.

Groupings of agency representatives should be provided by Regional Safeguarding Boards

Deferring a decision at a child protection conference

It is not good practice to defer making a decision about registration at a child protection conference

However, it may be appropriate to defer convening an initial child protection conference if key elements of information will not be available to make an informed judgement about risk to child and decide whether to place a child’s name on the register.

If there is insufficient information upon which to base a decision, it is probable that the conference will decide not to place the child’s name on the register but recommend that the proportionate assessment is completed and should provide clearer information regarding the child and family.

The conference, and in particular the chair, must be satisfied that there is no discernible indication of immediate risk for the child. A date for the next child protection conference should be set.