Child Protection Conferences
New Approach to Child Protection Conferences
Implementing the approach in Kirklees:
- The ‘Strengthening Families' approach to child protection conferences is designed to help families participate more easily in assessing risks to their children's safety, and to be more engaged in the development of a plan. This should enable professionals to more clearly articulate risk; assess if the family can instigate and maintain significant behavioral change; and provide a robust evidence base for decision making.
- The Child Protection and Review Unit would like to introduce this approach for conducting child protection conferences in Kirklees. This will have an impact on those professionals that attend conferences and have responsibilities under a child protection plan.
- A key part of the conference is the development of a safety plan. Under the "Strengthening Families" approach the plan is developed in response to the concerns, and the strengths, identified by professionals and/or family members, and focuses on building safety and making best use of protective factors. Crucially, this plan is developed before attendees make a decision about whether the child should be subject to a child protection plan. This is to ensure that families are engaged with the process of developing the plan and have ownership of the actions they are to undertake.
The Safety Plan:
- Needs to address all concerns identified by professionals (whether or not the family agrees with them)
- Usually requires significant behavioural change on the part of the family
- Highlights the importance of involving a network around the family (i.e. family, friends and professionals) to build safety and involving them in solving issues
- Identifies the challenges which may get in the way of creating an effective, lasting plan Identifies and monitors triggers and difficulties
- This approach is more likely to prevent drift, promote co-operation from families and secure timely evidence, based on measurable outcomes, where lack of progress occurs.
- Evaluations in other local areas that have adopted this approach have largely been positive in terms of feedback from professionals and family members.
The introduction of a new approach to child protection conferences, and new child protection/ child in need plans, will have implications for:
- Independent Reviewing Officers
- Minute takers
- Social Workers (Duty and Assessment)
- Social Workers (Care Management)
- Professionals from other agencies
- Champions' within partner agencies i.e. designated professionals in health, schools, adults' services etc.
- Other staff that regularly attend initial and review conferences and/or have responsibilities under a child protection and/or child in need plan
It is proposed that the implementation of this approach to child protection conferences will be overseen by a project group to formulate and co-ordinate the necessary measures for its implementation to include:
- Training Plan
- Documentation Review
- Evaluation Plan
Further information about the ‘Strengthening Families' conference process, including videos demonstrating the process, is available http://info.westberks.gov.uk/index.aspx?articleid=30028. Updated 29 October 2014
Professionals should use the forms below to submit information to child protection conferences in Kirklees:
Initial Child Protection Conference
Please provide as much information as you can on the form. The information you provide will contribute to comprehensive risk analysis, decision making and planning for the children being considered at the conference.
Review Child Protection Conference
The report form has been designed to help professionals update their information, take part in ongoing risk analysis, make decisions on whether to continue or discontinue the child protection plan, and where appropriate update the child protection plan.
Measuring the Impact of Child Protection Case Conferences
In Kirklees we have used the ‘Strengthening Families Model’ of Child Protection Conferences for over 2 years.
We are implementing “Risk Sensible” a new social work model and will need to make some changes in how we deliver Child Protection Conferences. We need to know how you have experienced the conference so we can make comparisons and measure impact once the changes have been implemented.
We are evaluating the current model to explore whether it is meeting its objectives:
Engaging parents, children and family members more in the process and plan development;
Ensuring parents, children, family members and professionals are able to be heard in conferences;
Developing better plans for children.
We want to maintain these objectives and ensure that any amendments we make are beneficial to outcomes for children.
To take part in the survey, click here