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Derby and Derbyshire Safeguarding Children Partnership Procedures Manual

Implementation of Child Protection Plans

SCOPE OF THIS CHAPTER

This chapter describes how the Child Protection Plan will be developed, implemented and monitored by Core Group Members.

When a child is being returned to carers in whose care the significant harm originally occurred, a Child Protection Plan should be considered.

RELATED DCOUMENTS

Multi-Agency Record of Core Group Meeting – these forms can be used to record the discussions and outcomes of meetings or record within the child's record.

AMENDMENT

This chapter was updated in May 2024 in line with local procedure.

Contents

  1. Introduction
  2. Responsibility and Membership of the Core Group
  3. Timing
  4. The Child Protection Plan
  5. Difficulties in Implementing the Child Protection Plan

1. Introduction

At every initial or pre-birth conference, where a Child Protection Plan is put into place, the Conference Chair must ensure a qualified Social Worker is identified by the local authority Children's Social Care Manager, to fulfil the role of lead Social Worker (lead practitioner) for the child.

The Core Group is the forum by which the multi-agency work to safeguard the child is co-ordinated, by the supporters, advocates and practitioners most involved with the child and family will have been identified at the Initial Child Protection Conference.

2. Responsibility and Membership of the Core Group

The Core Group is responsible for the detailed formulation and implementation of the Child Protection Plan, which will have been previously outlined at the conference. Agencies should ensure that members of the Core Group undertake their roles and responsibilities effectively in accordance with the agreed Child Protection Plan.

Members of the Core Group will be identified at the Initial Child Protection Conference and must include:

  • The lead Social Worker (lead practitioner) who will chair Core Group meetings;
  • If appropriate the child and/or their Advocate;
  • Parents and relevant family members and where appropriate their Advocate;
  • Practitioners most involved with the child and/or parent;
  • Foster Carers or Residential Care Staff who will have direct contact with the family.

Lead practitioners should:

  • Lead core group activity - be the lead for multi-agency and multi-disciplinary work with the child and family, co-ordinating the contribution of family members, including through family group decision-making, and practitioners into putting the child protection plan into effect and regularly reviewing the plan;
  • Should complete an Assessment of the child and family, securing contributions from Core Group members and other practitioners as necessary;
  • Obtaining a full understanding of the family's history by compiling or adding to a chronology, which must involve reading previous local authority Children's Social Care files as well as current records in use in local authority Children's Social Care, including those relating to other children who have been part of any households involving the current carers of the child. Additional information should be obtained from relevant other agencies and local authorities;
  • Co-ordinate the contribution of family members and other agencies to plan the actions which need to be taken, put the Child Protection Plan into effect, and review progress against the planned outcomes set out in the plan;
  • Should regularly ascertain the child's wishes and feelings and keep the child and family up to date with the Child Protection Plan and any developments or changes. This information must be maintained and a complete and up-to-date record held on the child's current file;
  • Make decisions about the child’s future safety, health and development based on multi-agency discussions informed by the voice of the child and the family network;
  • See the child (infants and babies to be seen awake) as agreed in the Child Protection Plan. The frequency of visiting must be determined in the Child Protection Plan and reviewed by the Core Group;
  • See the child on their own on as agreed in the plan;
  • See the child's bedroom as agreed in the plan;
  • Support multi-agency and multi-disciplinary practitioners to contribute to the development of the outline child protection plan into a more detailed multi-agency plan and circulate to all relevant practitioners (and family where appropriate;
  • Ensure the child protection plan is aligned and integrated with any associated offender risk management plan;
  • Undertake direct work with the child and family in accordance with the child protection plan, taking into account the child’s wishes and feelings, and the views of the parents in so far as they are consistent with the child’s welfare;
  • Undertake direct work with the family network, for example, through family group decision-making, to consider how the family network can support the plan and update the plan accordingly;
  • Explain the plan to the child in a manner which is in accordance with their age and understanding and agree the plan with the child;
  • If needed, inform the relevant embassy if the child has links to a foreign country;
  • Co-ordinate progress reviews against the planned outcomes set out in the plan, updating as required. The first review should be held within three months of the initial conference and further reviews at intervals of no more than six months for as long as the child remains subject of a child protection plan;
  • Ensure that decisions are recorded and actions agreed at core group meetings as well as the written views of those who were not able to attend;
  • Follow up agreed actions to ensure they take place. The child protection plan should be updated as necessary.

Core Group should:

Meet within 10 days from the initial child protection conference and are jointly responsible for:

  • Further developing the outline child protection plan, based on assessment findings, and set out what needs to change, by how much, and by when in order for the child to be safe and have their needs met;
  • Decide what steps need to be taken, and by whom, to complete the in-depth assessment to inform decisions about the child’s safety and welfare;
  • Share information about relevant multi-agency and multi-disciplinary resources and services available, agree what should be provided to the child and parents as part of the plan and how this will be funded. Practitioners should agree how impact will be assessed;
  • Implement the child protection plan and take joint responsibility for carrying out the agreed tasks, monitoring progress and outcomes, and refining the plan as needed;
  • Making recommendations to subsequent Review Child Protection Conferences about future protection plans and the child's needs being met stipulating specific outcomes;
  • Attending Core Group meetings and reviewing progress to ensure that there is no drift in achieving the aims of the Child Protection Plan;
  • The Core Group must ensure that the Child Protection Plan sets out the frequency for all Core Group members to see the child and the frequency of all contacts.

All action points must be clearly recorded, an analysis of the risk of harm to the child should be made and all the information should be shared with the lead Social Worker and the Core Group. A nominated Core Group member will be responsible for keeping a record of the outcome of each meeting, to be circulated within 5 days of the meeting.

If the lead Social Worker or any other involved professional has difficulty obtaining direct access to the child, the local authority Children's Social Care Manager should be informed, as well as other Core Group members. This must result in a plan of action agreed between Core Group members and the Police including consideration of legal action or convening a Review Child Protection Conference.

Absence of one member of the Core Group, including the Social Worker, should not prevent a meeting going ahead. Another member of the group should then chair and record the meeting.

3. Timing

The date of the first Core Group meeting must be within 10 working days of the initial child protection conference. After that the Core Group should meet within 6 weeks of the first meeting and at a minimum frequency of once every 2 months following the first Review Conference. More regular meetings may be required.

The first Core Group meeting date must be arranged at the end of the conference, along with the required frequency of subsequent meetings.

Dates for future meetings must be agreed at the first Core Group meeting following each conference. Where a meeting needs to be rescheduled, this must be confirmed in writing to all concerned by the lead Social Worker.

4. The Child Protection Plan

Actions and responsibilities following the initial child protection conference Purpose:

The aim of the child protection plan is to:

  • Ensure the child is safe from harm (including inside and outside of the home, and online) and prevent them from suffering further harm;
  • Promote the child’s health and development;
  • Support the parents, family, and the family network to safeguard and promote the welfare of the child;
  • Set out the support and resources to be provided by each agency to safeguard and promote the welfare of the child.

Implementation of the Child Protection Plan must begin immediately after the Initial Child Protection Conference. A Child Protection Plan should be considered where a child is returning to carers in whose care the significant harm originally occurred.

Contingency plans should be made, if there is no evidence of change in relation to the child's safety and welfare.

The Child Protection Plan may be used as evidence, in any legal proceedings, of the efforts that have been made to work in partnership (this must be made clear to parents).

Detailed Child Protection Plan

The lead Social Worker must ensure that they formulate the detailed Child Protection Plan and ensure that it is agreed by the family and agencies involved.

The Child Protection Plan should take into consideration the wishes and feelings of the child, and the views of the parents and family network, insofar as they are consistent with the child's welfare. The lead Social Worker should make every effort to ensure that the child/ren, and parents, family network and all agencies have a clear understanding of the planned outcomes, that they accept the plan and are willing to work to it.

The completed Child Protection Plan should be explained to the child in a manner which is in accordance with their age and understanding.

Practitioners should ensure that the parents understand:

  • The evidence of the child suffering significant harm, or likely significant harm, which resulted in the child becoming the subject of a Child Protection Plan;
  • What needs to change;
  • What is expected of them in the plan to safeguard the child.

If the parents' preferences have not been accepted in the plan about how best to safeguard and promote the welfare of the child, the reasons for this should be explained. Parents should be told about their right to complain and make representations, and how to do so.

All parties should be clear about the respective roles and responsibilities of the family network and different agencies in implementing the Child Protection Plan.

Copies of the agreed plan should be circulated to Core Group members within 5 working days of the first Core Group meeting.

Any disagreements should have been discussed at the Core Group meeting, recorded with reasons and reflected appropriately in the written plan. Each agency is deemed to have agreed the plan and their role. If there is a dispute the DDSCP Escalation Pathway should be followed.

The Child Protection Plan should be clearly accessible on the child's record held by each agency. Where possible on the parents’ adults record, these should be linked to the child or suitable coding/markers should be applied which would indicate a Child Protection Plan is in place for their children. In instances of unborn babies on a pre-birth plan this should be uploaded to the mother’s record and suitable coding/markers applied and added to the child’s at birth.

All core group members including family networks are responsible for the implementation of the Child Protection Plan and all core group members must ensure they are able to deliver their commitments or, if not possible, that these are re-negotiated.

5. Difficulties in Implementing the Child Protection Plan

Where any member of the Core Group is aware of difficulties implementing the child protection plan, in the first instance they should seek advice from their line manager/safeguarding lead in relation to next steps and sharing of information with the lead Social Worker. The child protection team and Child Protection Manager should also be informed with any difficulties and if intervention is needed.

A Core Group meeting / discussion should be co-ordinated to agree a reconsidered Child Protection Plan and agree a revised plan.

A Strategy Discussion / Meeting should be convened if necessary – depending on concerns, and to consider if further action may be needed in certain circumstances such as:

  • The need for immediate emergency Police action to gain access to a premises where appropriate;
  • A Section 47 Enquiry;
  • Legal action and/or to bring forward the date of the Review Child Protection Conference.

The need for legal advice should be considered by the lead Social Worker and discussed with their line manager.

If members are concerned that there are difficulties implementing the child protection plan arising from disagreement amongst professional agencies or a Core Group member not carrying out agreed responsibilities this must be addressed by seeking advice from their line manager/safeguarding lead and consider referreferring to the Derby and Derbyshire Multi Agency Dispute Resolution and Escalation Policy (see Documents Library, Guidance Documents Section).