Back to Decision making and initial child protection conferences

Involving children in the conference

To secure child-centred practice, the voice of the child should always be heard at the conference. This means understanding their daily lived experience, their wishes and feelings.

It is important that practitioners recognise that attendance alone at a conference is not participation or giving the child a voice.

There are several ways in which the child can be given a voice at the conference:

A method should be chosen, in collaboration with the child, which enables the child to have a positive experience.

The role of the chair and social worker

In order to facilitate participation in the conference process, the role of the conference chair and social worker are critical.

After the conference

The role of the chair

A conference can be distressing and confusing experience for a child or young person. It is important, therefore, that the child has an opportunity to discuss their experience and the outcome immediately after the conference. The chair should offer the child an opportunity for immediate discussion and debriefing. Whilst this should be done by the chair it can be more child-centred to include a practitioner, supporter or advocate that the child knows and trust.

Follow-up visit by social worker

The follow up visit by the social worker should be an opportunity for the child or young person to:

Determining whether it is in the child’s best interests not to attend a child protection conference

It is the responsibility of the chair of the conference to decide whether attendance at conference is in the best interest of the child. They should consider whether the child should:

When making the decision the factors to consider include:

If the decision is that the child should not attend or attend part of the conference the chair should:

Pointers for Practice: Giving Children and Young People A Voice in The Conference

Pointers for Practice: Invisible Children Managing Conferences for Sibling Groups