Within 10 days of a decision to have a Child Protection Plan (CPP), the social worker should convene a Core Group Meeting, which you are entitled to attend with any close family members who are supporting you, and professionals who are involved in your child’s life. Always take a supportive person/advocate with you and remember that you can record the meeting! The aim of the meeting is to go through the CPP. You have the right to ask for it to be changed if you don’t agree with what’s being said or asked of you. You are entitled to get the CPP translated into your first language if it’s not English. The same tips we have discussed above apply to dealing with this meeting.
At this stage the social worker can convene a Family Group Conference (FGC). This is a process led by family members to plan and make decisions for a child who is considered to be “at risk”. Children and young people are normally involved in their own family group conference, ideally with support from an advocate. It is a voluntary process and families cannot be forced to have a FGC. Families, including extended family members, are assisted by an independent FGC coordinator to prepare for the meeting. In the first part of the meeting, social workers and other professionals set out their concerns and what support could be made available. In the second part of the meeting, family members then meet on their own to make a plan for the child.
See who among your family and friends can help and support you. If you have supportive family and/or friends, they an FGC meeting could be helpful, but if you don’t, it might go against you. Keep in mind that the main issue is to establish what support you have, it’s not a place to argue your case. The child and the child’s advocate should always be invited to attend.