Child protection conferences are a key stage of the child protection system in England and Wales, where professionals come together to identify and address serious concerns about child abuse and neglect that have led them to believe a child is suffering, or is likely to suffer, significant harm. All parents and persons with parental responsibility as well as family members involved with the child must be invited to conferences unless there is a good reason to exclude. Although unusual the child may be invited to attend, depending on their level of understanding.
Since the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic and associated lockdown measures, professionals and families have had to rapidly adapt to remote or socially-distanced conferences. This research, which comprised an online survey and series of telephone interviews with family members and professionals between September and October 2020, investigates what these changes have meant in practice and offers points for reflection.