Pre-birth Child Protection Conferences and Reviews

Pre-birth Child Protection Conferences and Reviews


Where a core assessment under s47 of the Children Act 1989 gives rise to concerns that an unborn child may be at future risk of significant harm, Children’s Social Care may decide to convene a pre-birth initial child protection conference.  Such a conference should have the same status, and proceed in the same way, as other initial child protection conferences, including decisions about a child protection plan.  [Child protection review conferences should also proceed in the same way].  The involvement of midwifery services is vital in such cases.


A pre-birth initial child protection conference should not usually be convened within the first 12 weeks of pregnancy.  Conferences should be arranged as soon as possible thereafter, taking into account the circumstances of each case.


Where a conference decides to make the unborn child subject to a child protection plan, this should not occur before 24 weeks gestation.  The Independent Review Officer (IRO) who chairs the meeting must ensure that the information is recorded on Carefirst and TotalView at 24 weeks gestation.


Child protection plans made after 24 weeks gestation must be entered on the IT system the same day that the conference is held.


An administrator at the Children’s Safeguarding Standards Unit (CSSU) will record the information using surnames and any aliases and enter “unborn” for the forename.


Normal child protection procedures will apply to secure the safety and wellbeing of the unborn child following the pre-birth initial child protection conference, with the appointment of a key worker, the establishment of a core group and formulation of a child protection plan.   


A birth plan must be agreed at the conference.    


When the child is born the key worker [social worker] will notify an administrator at the Children’s Safeguarding Standards Unit of the child’s full name and date of birth to ensure the IT system is up to date.  


 Where the mother of an unborn child that is subject to a child protection plan moves out of the City, or their whereabouts become unknown, cross reference with the procedure for Missing Children and Young People and Pregnant Women.


 In the circumstances of foetal death, still-birth or death occurring immediately after delivery, a senior manager from Children’s Social Care must notify the Chair of Newcastle Safeguarding Children Board who will refer the case to NSCB Serious Case Review Committee, where the decision to remove the child protection plan will be made.