Child Protection in Angus
Information for Parents and Carers:
About child protection meetings and the child protection register
The Child Protection Case Conference
Sometimes a child's safety and wellbeing will be discussed at a meeting called a child protection case conference. This usually takes place after a child protection investigation where the information collected suggests that the child may be at risk of harm, and may need to go on the child protection register. This information will help answer any questions a parent or carer may have about child protection meetings and the child protection register.
We know that a case conference can be worrying for parents. The aim of it is to act in the best interests of the child, and this is best achieved by the people who know the child working together.
What is a child protection case conference?
A child protection case conference is:
- a meeting arranged by the Social Work Department after a child protection investigation;
- attended by people from agencies who know the child and family, for example, the health visitor, school nurse, school doctor, the family's own doctor, nursery or school teacher, police officer and a social worker; and
- led by a senior member of the Social Work Department.
What is the aim of the case conference?
Case conferences are arranged in line with government guidelines that say all agencies concerned about protecting children must meet to discuss their concerns, and make plans to protect children.
A child protection case conference cannot make legal decisions. If a legal decision is needed, the conference may recommend referring the child to the Reporter to the Children's Hearing, who decides if a children's hearing is needed.
The aim of the conference is to:
- share information with people who need to know about any concerns about the child;
- make sure that everyone understands how things are for the family and the child (including looking at strengths as well as weaknesses, the needs of the child and any risks there may be for the child);
- decide if the child is at risk of future harm, and if so, how best to protect them;
- decide if the child's name should be on the child protection register;
- decide whether to refer the child to the Reporter to the Children's Hearing for Angus;
- decide whether to apply to the Sheriff Court for emergency protection measures; and
- make recommendations about the type of support and protection the child and family may need. This will be agreed in detail at another meeting called a child protection planning meeting, usually held within 10 working days of the conference.
What happens to the information shared at the conference?
The people who go to the conference will keep information about the child and the family confidential unless they need to share information to protect the child. Any information shared could be used, for example, for a referral to the Reporter to the Children's Hearing for Angus or in criminal proceedings.
A written report of the conference will be produced by the Social Work Department and sent to the parents or carers and everyone invited to the conference.
Can parents or carers go to the child protection case conference?
Parents and carers are the most important people in children's lives and they will usually be invited by the social worker to attend. They will be able to give helpful information about the child and family, correct any information which parents or carers think is wrong, and hear what others have to say. There may be part of the conference which parents or carers will not be allowed to go to. This would only be to let staff from the agencies involved talk about things they may not be able to share with parents or carers, for example, private information about someone else.
Can parents or carers bring someone with them?
Yes. As long as they try to let the social worker know before the conference. If a relative, friend or legal representative comes with parents or carers, they can speak for them. The chairperson of the conference will decide whether the person the parents or carers want to bring can be involved in the conference.
Will the child be at the meeting?
Only children who are old enough to understand what is happening and will not be upset by the meeting will be able to go. The child's social worker can help parents or carers and the child decide whether the child should go. The child's social worker or any other worker who knows the child can say what the child thinks about their situation at the conference.
What if parents or carers do not go?
It is understood that parents or carers may find it difficult to go to a conference and may not want to be there. If they do not go, the chairperson will want to be sure that the conference takes account of their feelings, views and wishes. They can write something for the conference or can ask their social worker to write it for them and present it at the conference. At least one person attending the conference will see the parent or carer as soon as possible afterwards to tell them what the decisions are. They will also be sent a letter by the Social Work Department telling them the decisions of the conference.
What is the child protection register?
Every area in Scotland has a child protection register, which is a list, (kept by the Social Work Department), of children who may be at risk of future harm. A child's name may be put on the register under one or more of the following categories.
- Physical abuse
- Physical neglect
- Sexual abuse
- Failure to thrive (the child is not growing and developing as they should)
- Emotional abuse
The category will depend on the circumstances for the child and family.
The register is highly confidential and only staff from Social Work, the police, Education and Health can get information from it.
What information is on the child protection register?
The child's legal name, the name people call them, their date of birth and address. The register also shows what the concerns about the child are.
What is a child protection plan?
When a decision is made at a child protection case conference to put a child's name on the child protection register, parents and carers, the child's social worker and other professionals who have contact with the child and family will create a child protection plan.
All children on the child protection register will have a child protection plan which lets agencies who know the child and family share information and work together to support the child and family, and to reduce the risk of the child being harmed. The detail of the plan is agreed at a meeting called a child protection planning meeting, which is held within 10 working days of the child protection case conference.
How long will the registration go on?
The first child protection review conference will be held six months after the original conference. Further reviews are held at least every six months. The review child protection case conference will discuss:
- the progress made by everyone involved in carrying out the tasks agreed in the child protection plan; and
- if the situation has improved enough for the child's name to be taken off the child protection register.
If the child's name stays on the register, parents or carers will get a date for another review conference.
Criminal injuries compensation
Children who have been abused may be able to make a claim for criminal injuries compensation. This may come up at the case conference.
Download About child protection meetings and the child protection register leaflet (50 KB PDF)
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