Child Protection Plan & Core Group

Actions and responsibilities following the Initial Child Protection Conference.

The Core Group

The attendees of the Child Protection Conference will identify membership of a Core Group of professionals and parents/carers who will develop and implement the Child Protection Plan.  This Core Group will include the child/young person where appropriate.

The Core Group is responsible for developing and implementing the outline Child Protection Plan devised at the Initial Child Protection Conference (ICPC).  Although the Social Worker has lead responsibility for the development and implementation of the Child Protection Plan, all members of the Core Group are jointly responsible for carrying out actions outlined in the plan, reviewing the plan as needed, and monitoring progress against the planned outcomes set out in the plan.

The function of the Core Group is to:

  • Meet within 10 working days from the ICPC if the child is made subject of a Child Protection Plan, and thereafter no less than every 6 weeks while the plan is in place.
  • Develop 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.
  • Implement the Child Protection Plan and take joint responsibility for carrying out the agreed tasks, monitoring progress and outcomes, and reviewing the plan as needed.
  • Review its membership as and when necessary.
  • Undertake duties commensurate with their individual roles and responsibilities.
  • Recommend to the Chair of Conference if the Conference should be reconvened at an earlier date than that already scheduled.
  • Ensure that Core Group minutes are produced by the Social Worker for every meeting and circulated to all Core Group members 2 weeks prior to the next scheduled Core Group.

Consideration should be given, following consultation with the Social Work Team Manager and Chair of Conference, to convening an earlier Conference if the particular circumstances of the case suggest this would be appropriate, for example:

  • Where a child is to be born into a household of a child who is already the subject of a Child Protection Plan.  (Safeguarding the Unborn Baby)

     

  • Where the Core Group believe that early discontinuation of the Child Protection Plan should be considered, for example when a child becomes looked after or subject to Section 31 Care Proceedings (Child Protection Conference Procedure).

     

    The Child Protection Plan

     

    The Child Protection Plan: 

  • Should be clear and can be understood by a child as young as 8 years old;
  • Should be considerate of the child’s ethnicity, identity, culture and issues arising from disability if applicable; and
  • Should be SMART – specific, measurable, attainable, relevant and time-bound; with a responsible person for each action and timescale by when actions are to be completed, incorporating:What we are worried about;
    • Actions needed to ensure the child’s safety;
    • Who is responsible for each action;

    • When each action will be completed or reviewed;

    • How we will know that things are better for the child; and

    • What will happen if the plan is not working.

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    Core Group Meetings

  • The Social Worker will be the lead professional coordinating the effective implementation and review of the Child Protection Plan.
  •  The Core Group meetings will be chaired by the Social Worker.

  • At the beginning of each Core Group members should determine who will take the minutes of the meeting.  This task should be shared amongst Core Group members as each person has a significant role and an equal responsibility towards the production, implementation and progress of the protection plan.  The minutes should be handed to the Social Worker at the end of the meeting, who will arrange for them to be typed and distributed.

  • Core Group meeting minutes must be distributed promptly to the Core Group members by the Social Worker in his / her role as Lead Professional. Each Core Group member should familiarise themselves with the minutes prior the next Core Group meeting. 

  • If the Social Worker is unable to attend the Core Group meeting, their Team Manager or a Senior Practitioner should attend. 

  • If other members of the Core Group are unable to attend the Core Group meeting they should arrange for a suitable representative to attend who will have been given an overview of the case. 

  • Every effort should be made to support and facilitate the attendance of relevant family members at Core Group meetings: 

    • If required a qualified interpreter should be arranged for each meeting.  Family members should not be used as interpreters.
    • Small meetings will be less intimidating for parents.
    • Practical assistance around child care and transport to facilitate their attendance should be encouraged where appropriate.

  • Where appropriate, the child/young person should be encouraged to attend Core Groups, being mindful of the child’s age and understanding, and the nature of the discussion.  If the child/young person is in attendance, Core Groups should be held outside of school hours. 

  • The venue of the meetings should be subject to reasonable negotiation with the accessibility, comfort and confidentiality of the venue for parents and carers being important considerations. 

  • Attendance should be restricted to the family members and those professionals actively engaged in implementing the Child Protection Plan.  If a family member’s behaviour impacts negatively on the Core Group they can be requested to leave the meeting. 

  • It may be necessary to hold “split” Core Groups if a “split” conference has been held.  It will be for the Social Worker to manage this process effectively and safely for the individuals concerned. 

  • All Core Group members must prepare for each meeting and ensure they have a copy of the Child Protection Plan with them for each Core Group.  The Core Group must focus on the Child Protection Plan and progress being made against recorded actions. 

Quoracy 

The Core Group will be quorate when the social worker and at least two other agencies are present.  However, in the event that only one other agency is involved with the family, this will be deemed as quorate but the Social Worker and the other agency must be in attendance.