The Core Group
Initial Core Group Meeting
The first core group meeting should take place within 10 days of the initial child protection conference to agree the details of the child protection plan.
Developing the Child Protection Plan
The aim of the plan is to keep the child safe and healthy. Usually this is done by working with the parents and wider family members to develop better ways of looking after the child.
The plan should take into account the views of the child and their family, so long as this is consistent with keeping the child safe.
The child protection plan should set out what work needs to be done, why, when and by whom. The plan should identify :
- what the core group is trying to achieve
- what needs to change for the child, and how will this be done
- the roles and responsibilities of professionals and family members
- how often professionals will meet with the child and the family, and why
- how progress will be measured and positive change identified
- timescales for each part of the plan to be achieved
- when the core group will meet and when the plan will be reviewed
The plan should make reference to the My World Triangle.
Who is responsible for the plan?
All members of the core group have responsibility for the child protection plan, and should work together to ensure its success.
If any part of the plan outlined by the child protection conference cannot be carried out, the core group must consider if another child protection conference is needed.
The plan will be examined whenever the core group meets or there is a review child protection conference.
Lessons from research
Harlow and Shardlow found that differing views about thresholds often caused tension, with social workers feeling that other professionals had a lower tolerance of risk and were worrying unnecessarily. They found it hard to get across the reality that they could not nanny everyone and did not want to create dependency.
For the core group to work effectively, understanding and trust between the members is necessary; these take time to develop. The study found that it was common for the social worker to change several times during the life of a core group. Ongoing vacancies and high levels of turnover in social work teams often stood in the way of building trusting relationships.
See Harlow E and Shardlow S M: Safeguarding children: challenges to the effective operation of core groups in Child and Family Social Work, Vol 11, Issue 1 (2006)
- Worried about a child?
- Case Conference
- After the Initial Case Conference
- Supplementary Guidance