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Child participation and seeing the child

Section 4

It is essential that practitioners engage with every child within the family who is on the register to establish whether the plan is improving the quality of their lives and protecting them from harm.

Effective engagement is much more than attendance at core group meetings. The care and support protection plan co-ordinator is expected to ‘see the child alone at least every 10 working days and at least one meeting every 4 weeks should be at the child’s home.

Children and young people are entitled to an active offer of advocacy from a statutory Independent Professional Advocate (IPA) when they become looked after or become subject of child protection enquiries leading to an initial child protection conference.

‘Seeing’ the child

‘Seeing’ the child is much more than physically seeing them. It means engaging with the child taking account of their age, development and individual needs. The aim is to:

Engaging with a child who has a care and support protection plan

Effective engagement means:

It is important that each child in a family who is subject to a plan is provided with opportunities to meet with the care and support protection co-ordinator on their own. This ensures that their particular needs, views and opinions are considered without being influenced by others.

The use of advocacy must be considered at all stages of the child protection process for the child. The offer of advocacy is not a “one off” event and should be revisited at each stage. It should be noted that the active offer is as follows:

Child’s attendance at core groups

Depending on the age/level of understanding the child, it may be appropriate for them to be given the opportunity to attend the core group.

When making this decision the following should be considered:

If the child attends the core group, then:

Where a child does not attend the core group, it is primarily the allocated care and support protection plan coordinator’s responsibility to:

Pointers for Practice: Promoting Child Participation Denied access to the child

If the social worker or other core group practitioners are obstructed or denied access at any time to a child on the child protection register, the relevant senior manager in social services should be informed, as well as the other core group members. The core group should formally agree that another agency carry out face-to-face contact and/or a review child protection conference should be arranged. The care and support, protection plan co-ordinator in consultation with managers and legal advisors should consider whether any form of legal action is required to ensure the child is protected. Any necessary protective action to secure the safety and well-being of any child at risk of significant harm must not be delayed because a core group meeting is pending or imminent. provides tools, worksheets etc than can be used to communicate with children on care and support protection plans.