Child in need and child protection plans

Beck Fitzgerald specialises in advising and assisting parents when a local authority has become involved with their family and this can include when a child has been placed on a Child in Need plan or Child Protection plan.  A child in need plan can be made if a child requires extra support or if parents are struggling to meet all of their child’s needs. The local authority may need to place a child on a child protection plan if they have concerns that a child may be at risk of harm.

Each Local Authority is required to maintain a central child protection plan, listing all children in its area, who are judged to be at continuing risk of significant harm and for those where there is a Child Protection Plan. The principal purpose of the plan is to make agencies and other professionals aware of children judged to be at risk of significant harm, and to ensure work is done with the family so as to get the care given to the child to an acceptable level.

Who attends the initial child protection conference?

The people who would be attending an initial Child Protection Conference would be for example the parents, any other family members, social services staff who may have undertaken an assessment of the child and other professionals involved with the child such as the school, the Police and legal representatives.

Parents are allowed to have a legal representative in attendance at Child Protection Conferences and they are to be provided with the minutes from the conferences.

What is the Purpose of the Child Protection Conference?

It is to decide whether the child is at continuing risk of significant harm. If it is, then an inter-agency Child Protection Plan would need to be prepared at the Case Conference. The conference should decide whether the child should continue to be subject to a child protection plan.

Within three months of the initial Child Protection Conference, there should be the first Child Protection Review Conference. Further reviews should be held at intervals of no more than six months. The purpose of this review conference is effectively to review the safety, the health, and the development of the child and to consider the Child Protection Plan.

The conference will also nominate a Core Group which will comprise of the key persons involved in the child’s life, nearly always including the Social Worker and parents.  The Core Group will meet on more than one occasion before the date of the review Child Protection Conference and will undertake primary responsibility for implementing the Child Protection Plan.

Each Local Authority will maintain an Integrated Children’s System the purpose of which is to make agencies and professionals working with children aware of the children judged to be at risk of serious harm and in need of active safe guarding.

If you would like advice in relation to Child Protection Plans and Conferences please get in touch with us.

For all Child Care related matters contact us now on or 020 7101 3090.

Local Authority duties 

Every Local Authority (through their social services department) has a duty to safeguard and promote the welfare of children living in their area.

The Children Act 1989 contains a range of duties and powers for local authorities to enable them to support children and families. One of the key provisions is section 17.

Section 17(1) imposes a duty on every local authority:

(a) to safeguard and promote the welfare of children within their area who are in need; and

(b) so far as is consistent with that duty, to promote the upbringing of such children by their families, by providing a range and level of services appropriate to those children’s needs.

This duty to provide services only applies to those children who fall within the statutory definition of a child in need.

A child is a child in need if:

(a) they are unlikely to achieve or maintain, or to have the opportunity of achieving or maintaining, a reasonable standard of health or development without the provision for them of services by a local authority under this Part;

(b) their health or development is likely to be significantly impaired, or further impaired, without the provision for them of such services; or

(c) they are disabled.

The services provided by a local authority in the exercise of functions may include accommodation, assistance in kind and financial assistance.

If you need any advice with the Local Authority’s involvement with your family please contact us.

For all Child Care related matters contact us now on or 020 7101 3090.