Q&As

Can a referral to local authority child protection services be challenged? Can an injunction be obtained to stop the initial child protection conference and/or is there an appeal process for a child protection conference?

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Produced in partnership with Katherine Illsley of 4 King’s Bench Walk
Published on LexisPSL on 22/06/2020

The following Family Q&A produced in partnership with Katherine Illsley of 4 King’s Bench Walk provides comprehensive and up to date legal information covering:

  • Can a referral to local authority child protection services be challenged? Can an injunction be obtained to stop the initial child protection conference and/or is there an appeal process for a child protection conference?

A child protection conference is a meeting convened by the local authority to make decisions about a child’s safety, health and development. Attendees are usually the conference chair, social workers, parents and any other core family members or group of practitioners involved with the relevant child. Such a meeting may be convened following an enquiry pursuant to section 47 of the Children Act 1989 (ChA 1989) to assess whether, and what type of, action is required to safeguard and promote the welfare of a child. See Practice Note: Child protection conferences.

It is important to note that the threshold for a ChA 1989, s 47 enquiry is relatively low. It is simply that the 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’. If the ChA 1989, s 47 enquiry appears to substantiate the concerns of significant harm, the local authority should convene a child protection conference which will lead to a

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