The previous chapters have explained why the initial child protection conference - the 'crucible of the system' (Blom-Cooper, Kimberley Carlile Report, 1987), plays such an important part in the investigation and management of children at risk of abuse. This chapter presents the basic information on the children and families and on the conference procedures collected from the eighty three conferences that make up the study. This information provides context by monitoring the effects on the conference of involving parents. It yields information about the children and families, the sources and types of referral, the decisions and recommendations made and a number of features of the conference process. In itself, this information provides a useful and detailed picture of child protection work. For the particular purposes of this study the data also provides the opportunity to explore the issues previously identified, such as professional concerns that the involvement of parents might result in a drop in the number of conferences held or change the characteristics of the children conferenced. The information also lends itself to some direct comparisons with the other research studies cited and generates discussion about the particular and the wider issues raised by the present child protection system.