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4.10 Pre-Birth Child Protection Conferences


This chapter outlines the procedure for convening a Child Protection Conference for an unborn child.


Concealed Pregnancies Procedure

Where safeguarding concerns have been identified in respect of an unborn child a Single Assessment should be undertaken to determine whether the unborn child may be at future risk of suffering Significant Harm.

Where a Single Assessment identifies that an unborn child is at future risk of Significant Harm then a Strategy Meeting should take place to initiate a Section 47 Enquiry and the assessment further developed. The Single Assessment will ordinarily be completed by the Social Worker, seen and verified as completed by the Team Manager,and the outcome discussed at a final Strategy Discussion/Meeting. This meeting will confirm the outcomes of the assessment and address the identified issues, confirming either that:

  • Risks have been identified in respect of the unborn child which will require further consideration at a Pre-birth Child Protection Conference; or
  • The unborn child will not be in need of a Child Protection Plan and can be safeguarded through a Child in Need Plan.

A Pre-birth Child Protection Conference should have the same status, and proceed in the same way, as any other Initial Child Protection Conference, including decisions about a Child Protection Plan. 

Midwifery and Health Visiting services should both be included in all Child Protection Conferences where the unborn child is considered and in any pre-birth planning.

Should a Pre-birth Child Protection Conference need to take place it is good practice to hold it a number of weeks before the baby is due to be born. This should enable the Child Protection Plan to be in place before the child's birth.

It is recognised that in some cases it will not be possible to follow good practice guidelines, for example where a concealed pregnancy is identified. In such cases a Strategy Meeting will be required to progress to Pre-birth Child Protection Conference as a matter of urgency.

Where the Strategy Discussion recommends that the unborn child does not need a Child Protection Plan, the unborn child should be safeguarded through initiating a Child in Need Plan.