What is a child protection plan?
Children at risk may be made the subject of a child protection plan.
Before April 2008, children at risk would have been placed on the child protection register. The child protection register no longer exists.
How a child protection plan is created
A child protection plan is drawn up at a child protection conference. The plan is a written record for parents and carers and professionals which sets out:
- who the key worker is - usually the social worker
- what work needs to be done to reduce the concern
- what needs your child has and how we can help to meet them
- what needs you as a parent have and in what ways we can help
- concerns and why the work needs to happen
- a time frame for when the work should happen
- specific responsibilities of who should do the work.
Remember, we want to keep families close, and ideally together, so we will explore all the options before recommending that a child should be away from their family for any period of time.
How is the child protection plan made?
If, at the initial conference, it was agreed that the child is at risk of significant harm, and a decision was made that action needs to be taken to protect the child, an outline child protection plan will be agreed and a core group identified.
The core group should meet with you within two weeks of the conference to agree a detailed child protection plan, and after that regularly on a six to nine weekly cycle in order to review it.
What is the core group?
The core group includes the professionals who need to work with you. It is likely to include the parents or carers, the social worker, a teacher from school or a nursery nurse, a health visitor or school nurse and any other professional who is in regular contact with your family.
Do I need to attend core group meetings?
It is vital that you attend because without your involvement we cannot achieve change that will keep your child safe and improve their chances in life. We also know that you can make an important contribution in helping the professionals to understand your family situation.
How long will my child have a child protection plan for?
Usually a child will require a child protection plan for no longer than two years. By that stage the work undertaken with the family usually means that the child is no longer at risk. In a small number of cases where there is no improvement, it may be necessary for the court to become involved.
Working with children who have child protection plans
If your child is made the subject of a child protection plan, it means that the network of agencies considers your child to be at risk of significant harm in one or more of the following four categories:
- physical abuse
- sexual abuse
- emotional abuse
If a child is the subject of a child protection plan, a social worker can make announced and unannounced visits to check on the home circumstances.