Parental participation in child protection case conferences

Sharon Jackson, Lynn Kelly

Research output: Contribution to conferencePaperpeer-review


Child protection case conferences (CPCCs) are a fundamental part of child protection processes within the UK. They provide a mechanism for professionals and families to share information, enter into an assessment dialogue and develop a plan for intervention and support. The participation of parents is a core feature of UK and Scottish CPCCs. This reflects a more general international trend by child protection authorities which recognises the rights of family members to participate in the decision-making processes of child protection intervention. This article reports on the analysis of eleven qualitative interviews with parents who had attended child protection case conferences in Scotland. The findings highlight that parents were profoundly affected by these meetings which were experienced and troubling, distressing and frightening events. Parents lacked clarity about the purposes of CPCCs despite professional efforts to provide information. The large number of professionals in attendance was experienced as both intimidating and overwhelming. The discursive practices of professionals appeared to create a climate within which professional voices were privileged and parents felt degraded and humiliated. The findings of this study raise important questions about the extent to which parents can be considered to meaningfully participate in CPCCs and suggests that it is time for change.
Original languageEnglish
Number of pages32
Publication statusUnpublished - 2018


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