Parents Information

If your child is vulnerable to exploitation, you may get Children’s Services involved. Joe was initially referred to Norfolk Children’s Services in 2019, however the experience was not always great.

Emma and Phil found that there was very little information available to parents to explain the processes involved and the to expect.


This is why they are sharing their knowledge and experience to empower parents and hopefully make a difficult situation less daunting.

A professional that is working with your child either in a formal or voluntary setting can made a to Children’s Advice Duty Service (CADS). Once informed of the concerns about your child, the CADS will screen your child to identify their level of risk of harm from exploitation. This is completed jointly alongside the Police, Health, Education and Youth Justice Service. After discussions they will rate your child’s risk as follows:

Levels of risk

1. No Risk

(Child Criminal exploitation (CCE)/child sexual exploitation (CSE) No evidence of exploitation or exposure to serious youth violence.

2. Standard Risk

At this stage there is no evidence or reasonable cause to suspect that the child is exposed to exploitation or serious youth violence. However, there are concerns that without support the child could be exposed to exploitation or serious youth violence in the future due to the presence of identified vulnerability factors or warning signs. The child/young person requires support to increase resilience.

3. Medium Risk

There is evidence or reasonable cause to suspect that the child is at risk of being targeted for exploitation or exposed to serious youth violence. The risk to the child is such that they would be unlikely to achieve or maintain a reasonable level of health or development without the provision of support or that the child/young person’s health and development is likely to be significantly or further impaired, without the provision of support.

4. High Risk

There is evidence or reasonable cause to suspect that the child is currently exposed to exploitation or serious youth violence. The risk to the child’s safety is significant and immediate provision of support is needed to safeguard the child. 

What is a child planning meeting (CPM)

Mitigate Risk

If your child is rated as medium or high risk of exploitation, a child planning meeting will take place throughout the duration of the time they are deemed at that level of risk. A CPM is the broad term for a meeting in which your child’s risk of exploitation +/- serious youth violence is reviewed.  Plans to mitigate and reduce risk are discussed and agreed. Child planning meetings should ensure effective, coherent multiagency plans.

Child planning meetings can be quite daunting as you enter a boardroom with lots of unfamiliar professionals sitting around a large table. There may be lots of paperwork on the table. The meeting is chaired by an interdependent person.

Emma and Phil attended their first CPM in November 2019 for Joe at Whiting Road, Norwich. They were ushered into a small side room and asked to read some reports from professionals like the safeguarding officer at school, social worker and the police.

Emma and Phil found going into the boardroom extremely scary. Sat around a large table were 15 different professionals, most whom they had never seen before. They were all there to talk about Joe. Emma and Phil were not prepared for how stressful the situation would be, and heard lots of information that they were not aware of.

Joe was rated as high risk,and remained on high risk until about a month before he turned 18.

MACE Procedures

Child planning meetings are a key element of the multi-agency child exploitation (MACE) procedures in Norfolk. During the meeting the risk level will be discussed, you will have the opportunity to discuss any updates for your child and the professional network will also attend, share any information and review the current level of risk.

How Often Will Your Child Be Seen?

This entirely depends on what risk your child is rated as. Joe was high risk on a Child protection plan.

If your child is open on a Child in Need (Section 17) or Child Protection (Section 47) Plan, there is a statutory requirement for a social worker to see your child:

Your child will also be seen by other professionals who are part of the network. The frequency will be agreed by the professional and child. You, as the parent will be updated on when this will be and be provided with any key dates. 

Joe was on a Child Protection Plan, he was often left frustrated and annoyed due to visits being arranged and the staff member failing to show.

Where will the meetings take place?

You and your child will have meetings with the professionals involved. The meetings may take place face to face and or virtual. Your child may want to choose the location of the meeting to somewhere neutral or where they feel comfortable.

Joe tended to get picked up by his social worker and taken to the gym or to get food.

Emma and Phil had a mixture of face to face and virtual meeting, partly because of Covid. Some of our meetings were at home, others in a coffee shop or at Childrens Services

What professionals will be involved?

Social Worker

Your child will be allocated a social worker. You will be provided with their name and contact details so you and your child can discuss any issues with them.


If your child is deemed Medium or High risk of exploitation there will be an allocated Police Officer from the Multi Agency Child Exploitation team. They will attend the CPM and be allocated to work alongside the network and your family.

Youth Justice Officer

Youth Justice will allocate an officer who will meet with your child and you.


There may be a school nurse or another health professional who will attend the CPM and be able to support with any health needs for your child.


If your child attends school or college the designated safeguard lead for the education provider where your child is on roll will attend the CPM

Targeted Youth Services

Your child may be allocated a support person from Targeted Youth Support Services.

Emma And Phil found it overwhelming how many people were involved and discovered there was a lack continuity in Joe’s management. 

Joe had at least 8 social workers due to changes within Children’s Services, or use of locum staff. It takes time to build up a rapport and trust staff when they keep changing.

Your role as a parent?

It can be a stressful and challenging time for you and the family if your child is deemed as at risk of CCE.  It is important that you work with the professionals and confidently share any information which may reduce your childs risk and help safeguard them.

You will be asked to attend meetings so you can contribute to the your child’s plan and listen to information and updates from the key professionals.

Be open and honest with the professionals should you have any information which is directly linked to the concerns for your child.

Your child may not want all the help from professionals but try to keep them engaged. Inform them when the meetings are, in case they want to attend and so they know you are not going behind their back.  Always try to see their side, and continually offer your support. At some point they may decide they want the help that’s on offer and you will be there for them.

Joe initially engaged with the professionals and attending some of the meetings. However, after a while he would only engage with one individual, he felt the rest were a waste of his time. 

Emma and Phil initially engaged in all the meetings together, however Phil struggled to be available due to work commitments, and the timings of the meetings. Emma attended all the meetings to ensure there wouldn’t be any comeback that she wasn’t engaged in Joe’s care.