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Child Protection: What's It All About? A Guide for Young People

This is a guide to help explain to you what the Child Protection Process is and what part YOU can play in it. It should prove useful to you in helping you to understand what is happening and why it is happening.

Why has it been given to me?

Its been given to you because either:

  1. you have told someone you trusted that you are being hurt or harmed
  2. or it could be that someone else is worried about your safety or welfare

This is the first part of what’s called the investigation stage.

So what's the investigation stage?

So what’s the investigation stage?

A social worker or a police officer will need to speak with you about the concerns you or someone else has raised. This will be done in private and could include a video recording of what you say. This sometimes happens so you don’t have to repeat what you say more than once.

If you have any questions or don’t understand what is happening, you have a right to ask. Depending on what is said, you may need to see a doctor who will then examine you.

Who else will be involved?

The social worker/police officer will then need to speak to your family and other people who are involved in your life; perhaps your schoolteacher or doctor.

This process is confidential. This means that only those people that need to be spoken with will be approached. Your friends will not get to know about anything unless you choose to tell them.

What will happen after this?

The social worker/police officer’s job is to make sure you are safe.
If they feel you have been harmed whilst at home by a parent, carer or relative, you may need to stay somewhere safe while the process of protecting you continues. The social worker will then arrange what’s called a Child Protection Conference.

What’s a Child Protection Conference?

This is a meeting where the people that the social worker/police has spoken with will be invited to come and speak. You have a right to attend as do your parents/carers. If you do not want them in the meeting with you at the same time you have a right to say this. Sometimes family members are asked to attend separately.

Can I bring someone with me for support?

Lots of young people have sometimes worried about this part, but you have the right to have someone to support you at the meeting. This could be a family friend or you may be offered an independent advocate to help you. The social worker will let you know the date and time of your meeting and where it will take place. It may be helpful to think about what you want from the meeting before you go.

What will happen in this Child Protection Conference then?

The Conference Chair – that’s the person who manages the meeting – will meet you and your supporter (if you bring one) immediately before the meeting. If you want, notepaper will be given to you so you can write down any questions you may have. Everyone there will introduce themselves and your social worker will explain the reasons for the meeting taking place.
Everyone then will take it in turns to say what they know about why you have come together.

Will I get a chance to ask questions and give my views?

YES.

You will be given a chance to let others hear what you have to say and for you to disagree with anything that you don’t think is right. You don’t have to talk if you don’t want to, but it may be best to tell your supporter your views so that they can speak on your behalf, or help you speak yourself. You could also think about writing your views down on paper before you go so they can be read out in the meeting. You could even prepare a video to be played.

There are many ways of getting yourself heard even if you decide not to go. If you choose not to go, your social worker will explain to you what was decided and will ask you if you want a copy of the minutes (what was said and who said it).

What will be decided at the meeting?

The meeting will decide whether or not you are still at risk of harm and what sort of help is needed for the future. It could be decided that : -

  • nothing further needs to be done as you’re already being protected.
  • Your name may need to be added to the Child Protection Register, which will allow a social worker to carry on working with you and your family to support some changes that need to happen so that you are protected in the future. This work will be called you Protection Plan.
  • You may need long term protection. Action will be taken if it is decided that you may not be safe where you are living and your welfare needs to be protected.

If you are unsure about anything that’s been decided its important that you or your supporter ask this is your right.

What if I want to complain?

If you are unhappy with what any person working with you has done, you have a right to make a complaint. This can be done through the ‘Complaints Procedure’ – ask a worker or you can telephone one of the numbers below.

Where can I get more information ?

If there’s anything that you still don’t understand or you want to know more, please ask your social worker, a family member or someone you can trust. The following numbers below might help: -

Ceredigion Social Services Department:

Daytime: 01545 574 000
During weekends and at night: 0845 6015392

NSPCC Child Protection Helpline:

A free 24 hour helpline for any child or adult concerned about the occurrence of abuse to a child.
Phone: 0808 800 5000
Minicom/text phone: 0800 056 0566
E mail: help@nspcc.org.uk

Childline:

A free 24 hour helpline for children and young people in danger or trouble.
Phone: 0800 1111

Making a Complaint:

Phone Complaints Officer on: 01545 572672/572606 or email: complaints.dss@ceredigion.gov.uk