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Child abuse - what can happen after a child protection conference

This advice applies to England

A child protection conference will take place if, after their first investigations, local authority social workers have concerns about a child. This page explains what can happen when a child protection conference has taken place.

After a child protection conference has taken place

If you’re a parent, you should be notified of any decisions made by the child protection conference. You should be told orally in the conference itself and notified in writing as soon as possible afterwards. Children should also be told as soon as possible, usually by their social worker.

A child protection plan

As a result of the evidence brought to a child protection conference, they could decide that a child protection plan is drawn up.  If so, a key social worker will be allocated to the child. In Wales, if the conference decides a child protection plan should be drawn up, the child's name will be put on the child protection register.

There will then be regular meetings to review the plan.

Removing a child from home

The child protection conference could recommend that the child should no longer stay at home. If so, the local authority will first look if there are any other family members they could place the child with, either short-term or long-term. If this is ruled out and the parents agree, the child will be looked after (accommodated) by the local authority.

If the parents don’t agree, the local authority could start court action to take the child away (applying for a care order).

The local authority can't ususally remove a child from the parents' care a care order unless anyone with parental resposibility agrees to this. But the child could be removed without a court order if, for example, the only person who has parental responsibility for the child can't provide a home because they are in prison.

The child protection conference can’t say whether someone is guilty or not of abusing a child. That is for a criminal court to decide. But they could recommend that the police investigate the case to see if there’s enough evidence to prosecute someone suspected of child abuse. Or they could apply to a court for a special order to protect the child, for example, an emergency protection order, a care order or a supervision order. However, in most cases, no legal action is recommended.

If a child protection conference decides that further action should be taken to protect your child, you should get legal advice from a specialist. They will help you to understand your options and work out the best way forward for you and your child.

If you are being investigated by the police, you will need a criminal lawyer.


If you’re unhappy about the way that the child protection conference has been handled, or if you feel that the outcome is unfair, you might want to complain about the conduct of social services or another professional involved in the child protection conference.

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