This chapter examines the role of local authorities in protecting the child from harm and the orders available under the Children Act 1989, which are used in cases of alleged harm to children. It explains the nature of public child law proceedings and goes into detail to discuss the definition of the ‘threshold criteria’—the standard that the court uses to decide whether an order should be made. It also discusses the investigations which can be carried out by the local authority in relation to a child and parental contact with children in care, and compares a care order and a supervision order.
A local authority’s investigation into a child’s health and development includes a case conference so that information about the child can be shared by those involved with the child and family. This chapter discusses the function of a child protection conference in public children law and the role of a solicitor in the conference. Family group conferences are also discussed, as well as who attends the child protection conference, their contributions to it, and when a child protection conference will be held. Confidentiality in the child protection and parents being excludes from all or parts of the conference is explained.