- / Procedures
- / Managing individual cases
- / After the Initial Case Conference
- / Child Protection Plan
Child Protection Plan
The overall aim of the child protection plan is to:
- ensure the child is safe and prevent them from suffering further harm;
- promote the child's welfare, health and development;
- support the family and wider family members to protect and promote the welfare of their child provided it is in the best interests of the child.
The Child Protection Plan must make clear to the child, family and all relevant professionals the exact nature of the concerns which resulted in the child requiring the plan.
The Child Protection Plan should set out what work needs to be done, why, when and by whom. The plan should:
- Identify the lead professional and who will be a member of the core group.
- Outline the proposed child protection plan. The details of the plan will be developed in the core group.
- Specify the date for the first core group meeting, which must take place within 10 days of the conference.
- Be clear about who will have responsibility for what actions - including actions by family members - and within what specified timescales.
- Describe the identified developmental needs of the child and what therapeutic services are required.
- Set out realistic strategies and specific actions to achieve the planned outcomes, including any further specialist assessments of the child and/or family.
- Include specific, achievable, child focused outcomes intended to safeguard and promote the welfare of and reduce the risk to the child.
- Set out the arrangements for monitoring, including the nature and frequency of contact by professionals. This will include routine contacts by GP's, health visitors and teachers. Also professionals who may provide additional support with children and family members.
- Identify when progress will be reviewed and the means by which progress will be judged.
- Be culturally sensitive and appropriate for those with disabilities.
- Outline a contingency plan and the circumstances which would necessitate its use.
It is important that services are provided to give the child and family the best chance of achieving the required changes. If a child cannot be cared for safely by their parents/carers, they may have to be placed elsewhere whilst work is being undertaken with the child and family. This may be with extended family members and/or Children and Family Community Services foster or residential care.
Irrespective of where the child is living, interventions should specifically address:
- How the child is able to grow and develop
- The child's understanding of what has happened to them
- The harmful relationship between the parents/carers and the child and the capacity of the parents/carers to respond to the child's needs. (What does the child need from the people who look after them)
- Family relationships
- Possible changes to the family's wider world i.e. social and environmental circumstances
Interventions may have a number of inter-related components:
- Action to make a child safe
- Action to help promote how a child grows and develops
- Action to help a parent/carer provide all that the child needs from the people who look after them
- Action to strengthen the child, family's connections to their wider world
- Therapy for an abused child
- Support/therapy/assessment for a perpetrator of abuse or harm
A key issue in deciding on suitable interventions will be whether the child's safety and developmental needs can be responded to within the family context, within timescales that are appropriate for the child. In some cases, the timescale needed to achieve change for the parent/carer, through therapeutic help, will take too long for the child. The child will need decisions to be made within the stated timescales and without delay. Where the family situation is not improving or changing fast enough to respond to the child's needs, decisions will be necessary about the long term future of the child. This will be identified through the assessment which will be completed by the first review child protection conference (3 months after the initial conference). This might identify that, in the longer term, it may be in the best interests of the child to be placed in an alternative family context.
Children who have suffered serious harm may continue to experience the consequences of this harm irrespective of where they are living; whether remaining with or being reunited with their families or being placed in new families. Therapeutic work with the child should continue irrespective of where the child is placed, in order to ensure the needs of the child are responded to appropriately.
The child protection plan can be used in any legal proceedings as evidence of the efforts which have been made to work in partnership and reduce the level of risk.
If the plan is not working ...
If the child protection plan is not successful in achieving its objectives, a review child protection conference must be convened. As well as, or alternatively, a referral must be made to the Children's Convenor or to the Juvenile Court (through holding a legal threshold meeting, depending on the urgency of the situation).
- Worried about a child?
- Case Conference
- After the Initial Case Conference
- Supplementary Guidance