Thursday, March 17, 2005

My First Case Conference

When a Section 47 Child Protection Inquiry is completed, It is decided via a Strategy Discussion as to whether the case will be taken to initial conference. This conference includes the family involved in the case, professionals such as health providers and educational providers, the Reviewing officer-who chairs the conference, and myself and my team manager. This meeting is meant to be an opportunity for all present to assess the details of the situation and decide whether or not the child(ren) will be placed on the Child Protection Register. In addition to the health advisor, head teacher and social worker, FPU (Family Protection Unit) is also invited and there is a representative from Child Protection Review and our legal department. The reviewing officer chairs the conference; this person is someone who is meant to have a great deal of experience in the field and is the mediator of the process. The conference today concerned a separated couple who have had a very acrimonious split. The allegation was one of physical abuse concerning the father and the son, but my concerns were strongly within the clear emotional effect this tumultuous relationship has had on the kids. I, as you can imagine began to feel very caught in the middle of divorce proceedings it shouldn't be my role to engage in. But the allegations that brought us to conference brought to the forefront all sorts of needs that clearly needed to be addressed. Typically, you can expect a case conference to last about an hour- this one lasted 2.5 hours. Definitely complicated and interesting for my first one...I was incredibly nervous but covered what I needed to and had the knowledge and support of my Team Manager to chip in. The children were registered under the category of Emotional Abuse (other categories are Physical Abuse, Sexual Abuse and Neglect). From here, a Core Group Meeting will be scheduled in which the primary professional involved will meet with the family to compose the Child Protection Plan, which will address any needs the children and parents have. Once that is completed and all my assessments and paperwork are done, I can pass it over to the Care Management Team!

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