1. Make sure you bring an advocate, friend or supporter to the conference with you. You can contact Parental Advocacy and Rights who will give you advice and support. Click here to get our contact details
2. Make sure you know who is likely to attend the conference. Ask the social worker to explain who is going to be there,
3. Ask the social worker to give you a copy of the written reports well before the Conference. Also ask to see the written reports from other professionals who are attending. Ask the social worker questions about the report if you need to. You can also ask them to include your views in the report and ask for any factual mistakes in the report to be corrected.
4. Try to understand what worries the professionals have about your child or your family situation and why. Be prepared to listen to other people’s views as well as expressing your own. Try to respond to other people’s contributions and thoughts in a respectful way.
5. You and your child can submit reports to the conference. Your report could include:
- your views about what is working well in your family
- the worries you have about your family
- what you think could help, for example the support you could receive from family, friends, community.
For your child a format called The Three Houses can help get their views (see below). It can also be useful for you and your child to do it together. If you do not want to do a report you can write down notes of the main points you want to make at the conference as a reminder.
6. Ask to meet the Chair before the Conference. Ask to be shown the conference room and to choose where you feel comfortable sitting. If at any point you need a short break during the conference ask for this. Ask the chair to confirm that if you leave the room others will not continue the discussions
7. Discuss with the Chair and with the social worker before the conference if you are worried that you might be at risk of domestic violence or intimidation if a (former) partner or family member is the conference. The social worker should talk with the chair how best to manage this.
8. Focus on your child and what might help them: keep in mind what the professionals are concerned about.
9. Be willing to cooperate with the professionals to draw up plans that will help your child and your family now and in the future.
10. If you are unhappy about any part of the child protection process, you can make a complaint. Even if you make a complaint, still continue to work with the professionals.
House of Worries
House of good things
House of Wishes