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Child Protection Plans


Contents

  1. Introduction
  2. Formulation of the Child Protection Plan
  3. The Social Worker Role
  4. The Core Group
  5. Difficulties in Implementing the Child Protection Plan

    Further Information


1. Introduction

When a Conference decides that a child should be the subject of a Child Protection Plan, a Qualified Social Worker must be appointed as the Lead Professional Social Worker to co-ordinate all aspects of the inter-agency Plan.

The Child Protection Plan must make clear to the child (subject to their age and understanding), family, and all relevant professionals the exact nature of the concerns which resulted in the child requiring the Plan. It should set out what work needs to be done, why, when and by whom. If there are obstacles to progressing the Child Protection Plan that cannot be satisfactorily addressed, it is the responsibility of the Core Group and Children’s Social Care Management to determine how to resolve this.

The Child Protection Plan can be used as evidence in any legal proceedings of the services which have been put in place to work in partnership with the child and family to reduce the level of risk.

The Core Group is the forum to co-ordinate this multi-agency, collaborative work and the membership will have been identified at the Initial Child Protection Conference.


2. Formulation of the Child Protection Plan

Purpose of Child Protection Plan

The purpose of a Child Protection Plan is to facilitate and make explicit a co-ordinated approach to:

  • Ensure that each child in the household is safe and prevent them from suffering further harm;
  • Promote the child's welfare, health and development;
  • Provided it is in the best interests of the child, to support the family and wider family members to safeguard and promote the welfare of their child.

Clarification must be given to the parent / carer with regard to:

  • What the causes for concern are that have resulted in the decision that a child needs a Child Protection Plan;
  • What needs to change and contingency plans if change does not take place;
  • What the intended outcomes of the intervention and provision of services are;
  • What is expected of them as part of the plan for safeguarding the child.

Review of progress on achieving the outcomes set out in the Child Protection Plan and consideration as to whether changes need to be made should be an agenda item at each Review Conference and Core Group Meeting. Contingency plans should be made, if there is no evidence of change in relation to the child’s safety and welfare.

Detailed Child Protection Plan

The Child Protection Plan should take into consideration the wishes and feelings of the child/ren, and the views of the parents / carers, insofar as they are consistent with the child's welfare. The Lead Social Worker should make every effort to ensure that the child/ren and parents / carers have a clear understanding of the planned outcomes, that they accept the Plan and are willing to work to it.

Professionals should ensure that the parents/carers understand:

  • The evidence of the child suffering Significant Harm, or the likelihood of suffering significant harm, which resulted in the child becoming the subject of a Child Protection Plan;
  • What needs to change; and
  • What is expected of them in the plan to safeguard the child.

If the parents' / carers’ preferences have not been accepted in the Plan about how best to safeguard and promote the welfare of the child, the reasons for this should be explained. Parents / carers should be told about their right to complain or make representations, and how to do so. (See Complaints in Relation to Child Protection Conferences Procedure)

All parties should be clear about the respective roles and responsibilities of family members and different agencies in implementing the Child Protection Plan.

Any disagreements should have been discussed at the Core Group Meeting, recorded with reasons.

The Child Protection Plan should also be recorded on an adult service user's record if the parent / carer is known to Adult Social Care or health services as these agencies should be invited to the Child Protection Conference.

All agencies are responsible for the implementation of the Child Protection Plan and all professionals must ensure they are able to deliver their commitments or, if not possible, that these are re-negotiated.


3. The Social Worker Role

The role of the Lead Social Worker should be explained at the Initial Child Protection Conference and at the Core Group.

At every Initial Conference, where a Child Protection Plan is put into place, a Qualified Social Worker, must be identified by the Children's Social Care manager, to fulfil the role of Lead Social Worker for the child.

The Lead Social Worker should complete the Children’s Social Care Assessment of the child and family, securing contributions from Core Group members and others as necessary. They should co-ordinate the contribution of family members and other agencies to plan the actions which need to be taken, put the Child Protection Plan into effect, and review progress against the planned outcomes set out in the Plan.

The Lead Social Worker should also regularly ascertain the child's wishes and feelings, and keep the child up to date with the Child Protection Plan and any developments or changes.

The Lead Social Worker should:
  • See the child at a frequency agreed in the Child Protection Plan and reviewed by the Core Group;
  • See the child on their own on at least alternate occasions;
  • See the child’s bedroom as agreed in the Plan but not less than alternate occasions;
  • Explain the Plan to the child in a manner which is in accordance with their age and understanding and provide a written copy in keeping with their understanding;
  • Undertake direct work with the child and family in accordance with the Child Protection Plan;
  • Convene and lead the Core Group Meetings. Complex cases will continue to be led by a manager;
  • Provide a written record of meetings for all Core Group Members, the Child’s Record and the Children's Social Care Manager. Meetings must be recorded; this task can be delegated to a member of the Core Group. This record should be distributed to all Core Group members within 5 working days of the meeting;
  • Ensure that the outline Child Protection Plan is developed, in conjunction with members of the Core Group, into a detailed multi-agency Child Protection Plan which is jointly implemented and reviewed.


4. The Core Group

Responsibilities

All members of the Core Group are jointly responsible for the detailed formulation and implementation of the Child Protection Plan, previously outlined at the Conference. Agencies should ensure that members of the Core Group undertake their roles and responsibilities effectively in accordance with the agreed Child Protection Plan as outlined below:

  • Collecting information to assist the Lead Social Worker in completing the Children's Social Care Assessment;
  • Participating in the compilation and analysis of the assessment;
  • The formulation and implementation of the detailed Child Protection Plan, specifying who should do what and, by when;
  • Carrying out their part in implementing the Plan including the commitment of identified resources;
  • Monitoring and evaluating progress against specified outcomes for the child of the detailed Child Protection Plan;
  • Making recommendations to Review Conferences about future Child Protection Plans and the child’s needs being met;
  • Attending Core Group Meetings and reviewing progress to ensure that there is no drift in achieving the aims of the Child Protection Plan, giving the same priority to attending these meetings as they give to attending Child Protection Conferences;
  • Ensure that the Child Protection Plan sets out the frequency for all professional members to see the child and the frequency of all contacts;
  • All action points must be clearly recorded, analysis of the risks and safety statements for the child should be considered and all the information should be shared with the Lead Social Worker and the Core Group. All Core Group members are responsible for keeping a record of the outcome of the meeting.

Membership of the Core Group

Membership of the Core Group will have been identified at the Initial Child Protection Conference and must include:

  • The Lead Social Worker or, in complex cases, their manager, one of whom will chair the Core Group;
  • The child, if appropriate to their age and understanding;
  • Parents/carers and relevant family members;
  • Professionals involved with the child and their family;
  • Foster carers or residential care staff who will have direct contact with the family.

Where there are conflicts of interest between family members, the child's best interests should always take precedence.

Timing

The first Core Group Meeting must be held within ten working days of the Initial Child Protection Conference and the date will be arranged at that Conference. Thereafter, the Core Group should meet at a frequency to be set at the Child Protection Conference, and at a minimum of once every two months. More regular meetings may be required according to the needs and age of the child.

Dates for future meetings must be agreed at the first Core Group Meeting following each Review Conference. Where a meeting needs to be rescheduled, this must be confirmed in writing to all concerned by the Lead Social Worker.


5. Difficulties in Implementing the Child Protection Plan

Where any member of the Core Group is aware of difficulties implementing the Protection Plan, the Lead Social Worker must be informed immediately and a Core Group Meeting / Discussion co-ordinated to review the Plan.

Alternatively a Strategy Discussion/Meeting should be convened to consider the need for actions such as:

  • The need for immediate emergency Police action to gain access to premises;
  • A Section 47 Enquiry;
  • Legal action; and/or
  • Whether to hold an early review Child Protection Conference.

Arranging a legal planning meeting should be considered by the Social Worker with their manager.

Circumstances about which the Lead Social Worker should be informed include inability to gain access to a child who is subject to a Child Protection Plan, for whatever reasons, on two consecutive home visits (the second visit being a second attempt to see the child in close succession of the first attempt).

If members are concerned that there are difficulties implementing the Protection Plan arising from disagreement amongst professional agencies or a Core Group member not carrying out agreed responsibilities this must be addressed by:

  • First, discussion with Core Group members; and
  • Secondly, if required, involvement of respective managers / child protection advisers.

If the situation remains unresolved see Resolving Inter-agency Disagreements Guidance (Escalation Policy).


Further Information

Working with foreign authorities: child protection cases and care orders - Departmental advice for local authorities, social workers, service managers and children’s services lawyers (2014)

End.