Family Group Conferencing
Family Group Conferencing is a family centered practice that empowers families through their strengths and community support, to facilitate decision-making and planning for the safety, care and protection of their children. It is an evidence-based model that has yielded great results through the country and locally.
What is a Family Group Conference?
A Family Group Conference is a facilitated meeting that involves immediate and extended family, friends, community members and/or service providers. We believe that you and your family have a lot of strengths and should help decide how to make sure that your children stay safe and happy. The process draws on family experiences, knowledge and resources to create a plan that provides for the safety and well-being of your children.
If the family chooses to have alone time, this is the time when the family meets privately to create a written plan with agreed upon goals and tasks. This is called the "Family Plan". If the facilitator and/or service providers remain present in the room with the family, then the facilitator guides the process as the family creates the plan.
The coordinator will talk with you about scheduling a family conference. You, your case manager and the coordinator will work together to identify all the people in your life who you want to invite to the family conference to support your Family Plan.
Prior to the conference, the coordinator will make contact with the participants you’ve identified to clearly describe the process and purpose for the family conference. In addition, the coordinator will help participants understand their role before, during and after the conference.
What happens at a Family Group Conference?
During the family conference, you and your family will decide on a plan that will assist your family in reaching its goals and in getting the support that it needs. You and your family will create a written plan with agreed-upon goals and tasks. Once the family agrees upon the created plan, all participants will sign it and will receive a copy. If it is a judicial case, the plan will be presented to the court.
If the family agrees upon a Follow Up Family Group Conference, the Family Plan will be reviewed for progress made toward meeting the tasks and goals. Remember that your goals or needs may change; if this happens, the Family Plan may change.
Please remember that your family group, your case manager and your FGC coordinator are available to support your family plan. Please call on them for support.
When do we say goodbye?
The process ends when you and your family agree that Family Group conferencing is no longer needed, or once the case is closed.