Involvement of children at conference

Children and young people should be involved throughout the child protection process. This does not necessarily mean that they must attend the actual conference, though this is often helpful.

Hearing the child's voice

The child's voice must be heard at the conference.

This can be done by them:

Whichever method is used the social worker, and where appropriate others at the conference, should be able to explain:

Children attending conferences

Children should be encouraged to attend conferences provided they have the capacity to benefit from the attendance. The child should not be encouraged to go if the experience would be harmful to them. It may be more appropriate for a child to put their feelings in writing, and they should be given help with this, if needed. The role of the conference chair is critical in enabling the child to have a positive experience which is not damaging in any way. A child attending a conference should be given the opportunity to bring an advocate, friend or supporter. Account must be taken of the child's language of choice, communication difficulties or any other special needs. The chair should meet with the child beforehand, in the conference room before other people arrive, to ensure that they understand what will happen, how they can contribute and how they can complain , if they wish to.

After the conference, the chair should offer the child an opportunity for immediate debriefing. This should be followed up with a visit by the lead professional,  prior to the core group and within 5 working days of the conference. If a child disagrees with the conference decisions, he or she should be advised about the Island's complaints procedures.Any decision to exclude a child from the whole or part of a conference must be recorded in the minutes with reasons.

Deciding whether the child should go to the conference If a child expresses an interest in attending the conference, discuss the advantages and disadvantages of attending with them. Consider what attendance means in each situation, and what will be in the child's best interests. Some children will wish to be present just to hear what is said, while others will wish to contribute to the conference. Use what the child tells you to help you decide whether they should attend.