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The core group

Section 4

The core group is a multi-agency group of practitioners with responsibility for developing and delivering the care and support, protection plan .

  • the care and support protection plan co-ordinator should convene the group;
  • all members of the core group have equal ownership of and responsibility for the detailed care and support, protection plan and should co-operate to achieve its aims;
  • core group members have a responsibility to challenge and report concerns where they believe the plan is not protecting the child from the risk of abuse, neglect or other forms of harm.

Core group membership

Membership is decided at the time of registration and will include:

  • the child (and / or advocate -with the child’s agreement);
  • the care and support protection co-ordinator (social worker);
  • relevant family members (including other children);
  • practitioners and/or foster caregivers who have direct contact with the family;
  • all practitioners who have significant involvement with the child and family and may include practitioners from leaving care or relevant adult services;
  • if another agency becomes involved with the family, whilst the child is on the register, the co-ordinator may invite them to join the core group.

Membership is not limited and can include health, education, voluntary sector etc.

Pointers for Practice: Securing Active Participation from Practitioners in Core group

The initial core group meeting

The initial meeting should be held within 10 working days from the child protection conference at which the child was registered.

The aim of the first core group meeting is to:

  • develop the outline plan constructed at the initial child protection conference into a detailed care and support protection plan;
  • establish in detail what family members, need to do to keep their children safe;
  • ensure the family understand what is expected of them and why;
  • consider how practitioners can work specifically with the family to support them to make the necessary changes to improve the child/ren’s lived experience and protect them from harm;
  • clarify the roles and responsibilities of practitioners and family members engaged in the child protection plan;
  • agree the frequency of contact with the child by the care and support protection plan co-ordinator(social worker) and/or other core group members;
  • establish what further and specialist assessments are required and who will commission these;
  • establish child-focused milestones and specific outcome measures to ensure all members of the core group understand what life will be like for the child/ren at the point of de-registration;
  • identifying contingency arrangements in the event of family members not complying with the plan.

Pointers for Practice: Initial Core group Meeting - Effective Practice

Developing the care and support protection plan

By the end of the first core group meeting both the family and practitioners should have a clear understanding of:

  • the identified risks to the child;
  • the rationale for the plan;
  • the content of the care and support, protection plan;
  • what is expected of each family member and each practitioner;
  • the wishes and feelings of the child;
  • the views of the parent/s.

This is achieved by:

  • ensuring there is a shared understanding of the risks of significant harm ;
  • adding detail to the original plan constructed at the conference to make explicit the link between the child’s needs, actions by the family and practitioners and child-focused outcomes.

The following questions are designed to achieve this:

  • Do we share an understanding of the concerns regarding significant harm and the ways in which they are impacting on the child, as identified at conference? If not, what are the differences? How do we address this?
  • What do the parent/s and child want to achieve?
  • What would the daily lived experience of the child look like if our concerns are addressed?
  • In light of this what are our final outcome measures?
  • How will we measure incremental change?
  • What do we know about the parent/s ability and motivation to engage with the plan in order to meet the care and support, protection needs of the child?
  • How can we build on parenting strengths?
  • What are the barriers to change?
  • What do we know about past parenting behaviour and engagement with services that should inform the plan?
  • How can practitioners demonstrate their commitment to support and work with the family to ensure the care and support, protection needs of the child are met?

N.B. This is not an exhaustive list.

Pointers for Practice: From Outline Plan to Working Care and Support Protection Plan

Pointers for Practice: Identifying Effective Interventions for Children on The Child Protection Register