Family Group Conferences
The Family Group Conference (FGC) is a voluntary decision making meeting. They're arranged and chaired by an Independent Co-ordinator. By using collaborative working principles, families can find their own achievable solutions.
FGC promotes family unity. It uses, where necessary, the support of professional services and community networks. By working to a family's strengths it can empower them to understand the concerns raised by Children's Social Care.
How do we define 'family'?
Family is defined broadly, and includes:
- the child
- extended family
- close family friends
Family can withdraw from the voluntary Family Group Conference Process at any point if they wish to do so.
How does the Family Group Conference aim to help?
The FGC Service works creatively to ensure a child’s voice is heard during the decision making process. We understand the impact on their lives, and indeed those of their family.
The aim of the conference is to empower the children and the family to come up with an agreed, safe and sustainable plan that will enable resolution and enact change.
The role of the Family Group Conference coordinator
The FGC coordinator will speak to the family, children, and key professionals. This helps them decide, who should attend, and where and when the meeting should take place. They will then undertake face to face meetings and discuss any concerns raised. The more the family understands the 'risk factors' identified by Children's Social Care, the greater the chance for successful change.
They will talk to the children about how they would like to contribute to their meeting. This includes seeing if they would like an advocate to attend to help put forward their views. Children may also choose to contribute by other means if they feel unable to attend the conference.
The three key stages of an FGC meeting
There are three key stages to the FGC meeting. These help break down the concerns raised and help the family come up with a plan to tackle it.
Information Sharing (Stage One)
At this stage the referrer, and other appropriate key agencies or professionals, will explain their concerns and the reasons for the Family Group Conference. They will give clear information about their available support, and the strengths within the family. The family and the child have an opportunity at this stage to query any information provided. They can also ask more questions, which will assist them to achieve a robust FGC Plan.
Private Family Time (Stage Two)
Stage two of the meeting is where the FGC coordinator, and other key agencies/professionals, leave the meeting room. The family can then discuss the concerns of Children’s Social Care on their own. Together, the family can create a plan to address and resolve the issues raised by reflecting on the information stage.
Agreeing the FGC Plan (Stage Three)
Stage three happens when the family and child are happy and in agreement of their FGC plan. The FGC coordinator, and other key agencies/professionals will then rejoin them to discuss the plan.
At this stage the plan will be discussed to ensure it's robust and meets the needs of the child. The referrer then has the final agreement of the plan if they feel it appropriately addresses the concerns that have been raised.
Family Group Conferences promote working with families, not doing 'to' or 'for'.
How to get in touch
Family Group Conference Service
1 Walton Grove
Telephone: 01296 387417
Email Address: email@example.com