Child protection means that there are significant concerns about the safety or wellbeing of the child (The Children Act 1989 s.47). If this is the case we have a duty to investigate. Parents and carers need to enable the investigation to take place and make the child available to the social worker. Children’s services will act to improve the situation for the child in terms of their safety or wellbeing. Being in your care might be considered to have made the child safer now, and there might be things you are expected to do to maintain the safety of the child in your care. The child will have a social worker and there will be regular meetings, called core groups, to review progress on the current plan aimed at improving things for the child. In addition to the core group meetings, there will also be child protection conferences which will decide whether the child still needs child protection planning.
If there are, or have been, child protection concerns for the child you are caring for, it is quite possible that looked after child (LAC) procedures and meetings, as well as child protection procedures and meetings, will be taking place at the same time. You will be invited to the LAC reviews and may be invited to the core groups and child protection conference too; either to give your own point of view, or as a supporter to the parent who may well be your relative. You may be asked to wait outside for part of the meeting to respect the confidentiality of the parent or child.