If social services are concerned about the welfare of your child, they may make the child subject to a Child Protection Plan.

What happens after a child protection plan?

But what does this mean, and what happens after a Child Protection Plan is made? To answer the questions we need to consider what is in the plan, and when it will end.

But first we should look at why a Child Protection Plan is made.

Why is a Child Protection Plan made?

Where a local authority has reasonable cause to suspect that a child who lives or is found in their area is suffering, or is likely to suffer, significant harm, it has a duty to investigate the matter.

This involves making whatever enquiries they consider necessary to enable them to decide whether they should take any action to safeguard or promote the child’s welfare.

And if those enquiries lead to concerns that the child has been or may be harmed, the local authority may convene a Child Protection Conference.

A Child Protection Conference is a meeting between family members, the child (where appropriate), and professionals involved with the family. The main purpose of the Conference is to see whether the child is at risk of significant harm.

If it is considered that the child is at risk then a decision will be made as to whether the child needs to be placed on a Child Protection Plan.#

What is in a Child Protection Plan?

A Child Protection Plan essentially has three aims:

Firstly, to ensure that the child is safe from harm, and to prevent them from suffering further harm;

Secondly, to promote the child’s health and development; and

Thirdly, to support the family and wider family members to safeguard and promote the welfare of their child, provided that is in the best interests of the child.

More specifically, the plan will include details of why it is needed, what work the parents are expected to do, what help social services will give to the parents, and what will happen if the parents don’t keep to the plan.

The plan will also include any important dates, such as child protection review conferences, to see how things are going. These will take place every three to six months, until the child no longer needs to be the subject of a Child Protection Plan.

The plan may be changed from time to time, if the local authority consider it appropriate. This may involve adding new actions to the plan, or changing existing actions.

You may need to inform your employer that your child has been made subject to a Child Protection Plan, especially if you work with children, or your job involves safeguarding issues. Your employer will then investigate, and decide whether you can continue in your job, or be moved to other duties. Failure to notify your employer could result in your dismissal.

When does a Child Protection Plan end?

It is essential that the parents keep to the plan. If they do not do so, or if the local authority consider that the plan is not working to keep your child safe, it may apply to the court for a care order. If a care order is made by the court the child might be taken into care.

Otherwise, a Child Protection Plan will continue until one of the following happens: the local authority decide that the child is no longer suffering or at risk of significant harm; the child reaches the age of 18 years; or the child moves abroad.

If the local authority indicate that they have concerns about your child then you should seek legal advice, as soon as possible.

How We Can Help

Ian Walker Family Law & Mediation Solicitors are award-winning family solicitors and are recognised as one of the leading family law firms in the South West of England with services covering family law & mediation, divorce, child law, and arbitration. For expert advice when is comes to child law involving social services, please contact the team.