What is a child protection plan?
A child protection plan says what decisions were made in the child protection conference to keep your child safe. It is important that you stick to the plan or the social worker may ask a court to start care proceedings.
What will be in the child protection plan?
It will include:
- why you need a plan
- what work you as parents are expected to do
- what help Children’s Services will give you
- what will happen if you don’t keep to the plan.
It should also include the contact details of all the people involved in the case (the core group) and key dates, including the date of the child protection review conference.
Will I see the plan?
You will get a copy of the plan so you can see what has been agreed. If any changes are made to the plan, you should be given these too.
How does a child protection plan work?
At the child protection conference, a group of people will be asked to work together to make sure the plan is followed. This group is known as the core group. It will be a small group made up of you, your social worker, professionals that are close to your child – such as a teacher or a health professional and perhaps some of your family members.
The group will agree who will do what and by when. They will meet regularly to check how the plan is working and whether things are getting better. It is very important that you attend every meeting so that you know how things are going.
When will the child protection plan end?
There are a few ways the plan can end:
- Children’s Services decide that your child is no longer at risk
- Case conference if the group believe your child is no longer at risk
- Court order – the court has the power to end a plan if they wish.
- On your child’s 18th birthday or if they permanently leave the country.
Regular review meetings will take place to see how things are going.
What can I do if I don’t agree with the child protection plan?
If you don’t agree with the plan, perhaps you don’t feel it is needed or you think there are things missing from it, or you think they haven’t taken account of certain evidence, you should speak to your social worker about your concerns. If this doesn’t help and you’re still unhappy you can take legal advice.
If you claim certain benefits, or have a low income, and do not have savings over £8,000 you may be able to get free advice from a lawyer (the Legal Help scheme, often known as legal aid). You should find a lawyer who is a member of the Children Panel. When you telephone them to make an appointment they will be able to tell you whether you can get free legal advice.
If you don’t follow the plan, the social worker may take your case to court and ask a judge to start care proceedings. So it is best that you stick to it while you are seeking help.
Child protection review conference
The plan will be reviewed at case review conferences.
The first conference will take place three months after the plan is made and then every six months. If all goes well, the plan will then end.
If no progress has been made, Children’s Services may decide to take your case to court for a judge to decide on what needs to happen to your children.