Discontinuing the Child Protection Plan

Guidance on discontinuing the Child Protection Plan when the child is no longer required to be the subject of the plan.

Removing the child protection plan


A child protection plan should be removed when:


It is judged that the child is no longer continuing to, or is no longer likely to, suffer significant harm; or The child and family have moved permanently to another local authority area and a transfer conference has taken place in the new local authority (the transfer conference should take place within 15 working days of the new local authority being notified of the family’s permanent move); or The child has reached 18 years of age (a review conference should take place around the child’s 18th birthday and this should be planned in advance); or The child has died or has permanently left the UK


If either of the last three criteria are met, the Service Manager for Conferences has the authority to remove the child protection plan without holding a review conference. In these two situations the Review Unit Manager must record their decision and details of their consultation with other agencies in the relevant section of the child’s electronic case file.


A child protection plan should not be removed at the first review conference except in exceptional circumstances where it can be demonstrated that all risks have been eliminated.


Exceptional circumstances are defined as:


The perpetrator of the abuse is the subject of a significant custodial sentence that removes the risk of further significant harm


Discontinuing a child protection plan should not lead to the automatic withdrawal of services. Prior to the review conference, the core group, in consultation with the child and their parents must discuss what services are wanted and needed, including bereavement/counselling where a child has died, based on a re-assessment of the child and family. In some circumstances, where the child is no longer considered to be a ‘child in need’, but where there are still additional needs that require a targeted response, there can be a ‘step-down’ to CAF and a new Lead Professional can be identified at the review conference.


Avoiding ‘Double protection’

There are situations where children who are subject to a child protection plan become either

Section 20 CA 1989 accommodated (voluntarily accommodated) or are the subject of a legal order through Care Proceedings, e.g. Interim Care Order. They are therefore ‘doubly protected’ in that they are subject to both a care plan through the court process and subject to a child protection plan. This duplication is unnecessary and leads to an excess of reviewing procedures. It does not include PLO proceedings


In the circumstances outlined above, the Review Conference must be brought forward to consider discontinuing the protection plan.


Where there is no foreseeable plan for the child to return home, and the child is subject to section 20 Accommodation or is the subject of an Interim Care Order an administrative removal from a plan can be considered.  In these instances, the social worker on behalf of the core group would request the plan be removed by writing to the IRO.  The IRO would then confirm the request with the core group members and designated officers.  


Where the protection plan has been removed and the child/ren inexplicably return home, either during or following care proceedings, the Team Manager must either:

  • convene a multi-agency meeting to share information and plan future care


  • convene a strategy meeting if there are concerns that the child returning home may be suffering or is at risk of suffering significant harm.


When a child protection plan has been removed


When a child protection plan is removed, the Review Unit should within 1 working day, send a notification, at a minimum, to all those agency representatives who were invited to attend the initial child protection conference.


Flowchart: Children Returning Home From Care To Their Families