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Family Group Conferencing (WS12)


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Showcasing this approach as an early and effective intervention where a child is at risk and as a means of involving families in decision making. This workshop will show how family conferencing helps to deliver sustainable care arrangements for vulnerable children. Contributor: Children First

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Family Group Conferencing (WS12)

  1. 1. Social Work Expo 19 March 2013 Family Group Conferencing Shifting the Balance of PowerRonnie Hill – Assistant Director for National Services email:
  2. 2. Family Group Conferencing• Taking the decision making process out of the hands of professionals and government and putting it back in the hands of those who are directly affected
  3. 3. The Principles• There is a case-independent coordinator of the process• There are time and resources for searching out and assembling as broad a family group as possible• Family groups have private time• Family plans are given priority• The referring agency implements the plan in accordance with the decision of a family group conference
  4. 4. Basis of the Model• Children and families have a right to participate in decisions that affect them• Decisions made within families are more likely to succeed• The child’s protection and safety needs are at the centre of the decision making process• The focus is on building the family’s strengths and capacity to care for and protect the child• Family engagement is a process, not an event
  5. 5. Shifting the Balance of Power Orthodox Radical• Agencies know best • Active client participation sought• Professionals are expert • Clients are experts of themselves• Focus is on child and parents • Children and parents are nested• Professionals occupy central in a wider family system position in resolving matters • Wider family is the context for• Families fit in resolution• Compulsory plans • Families lead• Menu of agency services • Plans belong to families• Language of specialisation, • Service mix changes rationing, risk and thresholds • Family as a system, kinship, cultural relevancy, coordination of state and community resources Doolan, M (2004) University of Canterbury, NZ
  6. 6. A Flexible ModelFGCs can be used in a range of situations where a plan needsto be made for a child or young person, including:•Where a young person is at risk of being looked after•Where parents/carers need additional support•Where parents/carers misuse alcohol or drugs•To support a young person who may be returning to their family•Where families are separating or have separated•Where prisoners are being discharged to their families•Alongside youth justice approaches
  7. 7. Why should FGC be of Interest?FGCs•Provide a focus for real early intervention•Provide opportunities to secure cost-effective plans forchildren•Work well with emerging practice models such as “Signsof Safety”•Go in the grain of the Christie Report, building capacity inthe families and the community, reducing the need for stateintervention•Support GIRFEC
  8. 8. How Do We Know FGC Works?Between 01/04/12 and 13/02/13, 197 children and familymembers engaged with CHILDREN 1ST in FGCOverall, 74% of people’s outcomes were met or partially met:•Happier children, a greater sense of belonging and security•Better family relationships, reducing family conflict•More stable supportive environments•Parents and wider family network taking more responsibility toprovide safe care and meet children’s needs•Reduction in statutory intervention. 86% success rate inreducing the risk of “being accommodated” where this was anissue
  9. 9. Family Group ConferencingTo find out more about Family Group Conferencing, toarrange a presentation to your partnership or network, todiscuss the possibility of accessing FGC training or topurchase FGC, please contact:Ronnie Hill, Assistant Director National Services,CHILDREN 1STTel: 0131 319 8077Email:
  10. 10. Thank You!