4.10 Pre-Birth Child Protection Conferences
SCOPE OF THIS CHAPTER
This chapter outlines the procedure for convening a Child Protection Conference for an unborn child.
This chapter was updated in December 2020 to reflect local guidance.
Where safeguarding concerns have been identified in respect of an unborn child a Pre-Birth Assessment should be undertaken to determine whether the unborn child may be at future risk of suffering Significant Harm.
A strategy meeting will be held and either a recommendation for section 47 or a pre-birth assessment will be recommended. The Pre-Birth Assessment will ordinarily be completed by the Social Worker, seen and verified as completed by the Team Manager. The Team Manager 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.
For further guidance please see Knowlsey Children's Social Care Operational Procedures Manual, Pre-birth Assessment.