A Child Protection Conference (CPC) is a meeting between parents, guardians or carers, Social Services and other agencies, when concerns have been reported about the welfare of a child.
A Child Protection Conference is arranged as a result of a Section 47 enquiry, which refers to Section 47 of the Children Act 1989.
A Section 47 enquiry requires all the relevant agencies and professionals involved in a child’s care to cooperate in any child protection enquiry initiated by social workers.
A Section 47 enquiry is always initiated if there is reasonable suspicion that a child is at risk or is likely to be at risk from sexual, emotional or physical abuse – or is being neglected or harmed.
In urgent cases, a CPC will be arranged if an Emergency Protection Order is in place or Police Powers of Protection are involved.
Child Protection Conferences may be arranged if there are allegations of abuse or physical injury, or there is a history of domestic violence within a family – or if there is evidence of abuse or physical injury, or a child is at risk because of a known abuser in a household or who joins a household.
The initial meeting with Social Services can be extremely daunting for parents, guardians or carers – but the aim of the meeting is to discuss the issues and enable information from child care professionals such as teachers and doctors to be shared, so that Social Services can reach a decision about what is in the best interests of a child – and whether a child is at risk and needs to be taken into care.
It is important to realise that just because a Child Protection Conference has been scheduled, this does not mean that your child will definitely be taken into care – and any measures to protect a child which Social Services decide upon will be set out in a Child Protection Plan, which will be reviewed after three months.
If children are old enough to understand what is happening, they will also be able to attend the Child Protection Conference – and parents and older children will also receive in advance copies of the reports to be presented at the conference by Social Services.
It is crucial that parents, guardians or carers with Parental Responsibility seek legal advice from a specialist child care solicitor with expertise in child protection matters, who can advise on the specifics of the case, help parents and children understand the reports by Social Services before attending the conference – and can represent and speak for parents and their children at the Child Protection Conference to ensure that children are not taken into care.
Duncan Lewis is one of the UK’s leading firms of specialist child care solicitors with acknowledged expertise in child protection and Court of Protection cases – and can advise on child care cases involving allegations of child abuse or child neglect.
In care proceedings, the family courts will always place the welfare of a child above parental concerns and it is vital parents ensure they are adequately represented at a Child Protection Conference.
Duncan Lewis children lawyers offer considerable expertise in this area of the law – and are a leading firm of Legal Aid solicitors.
If parents, guardians or carers do not wish to attend a Child Protection Conference or are unable to attend, Duncan Lewis children lawyers can attend on their behalf to ensure their concerns are made known to Social Services, who will go ahead with the meeting in the absence of parents, guardians or carers.
Duncan Lewis can also advise parents on how to make a complaint to a Local Authority if they are unhappy with the way in which a Child Protection Conference has been managed.
Duncan Lewis is ranked by the Legal 500 2014 for its Family & Matrimonial work – and the Duncan Lewis team includes Advanced Members of the Law Society’s Family Panel, and members of the Law Society Children Panel – so our team is well placed to help you with any child protection matters and present your case at a Child Protection Conference.
Duncan Lewis children lawyers offer a fixed fee for an initial client interview and assessment of a private child matter involving child protection conferences.
After a case has been assessed, it is usually possible for a fixed fee arrangement to be put in place – and Duncan Lewis will always advise clients of the costs in advance.
Duncan Lewis is also one of the UK’s largest providers of Legal Aid family law services – including children law – and in some cases may be able to offer Legal Aid funding for child care cases. If a parent has received a Pre-proceedings Letter from the local authority it is likely they will be eligible for Legal Aid.
Duncan Lewis child care lawyers always advise clients who are seeking help with child care matters – or who are facing a Child Protection Conference – to get in touch as soon as possible so the issues can be discussed before the CPC.
For expert legal advice on all child care matters – including Child Protection Conferences – contact Duncan Lewis Children Lawyers on 020 7923 4020.