Family Group Conferences

Family Group Conferences (FGC) put families, children and young people at the centre of decision making. 

When the family is under pressure an FGC can provide the support of a skilled and independent coordinator to bring the extended family network together to make a plan to sort out their problems.

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Family Group Conferences are a good way to come up with workable solutions to problems affecting the welfare of a child or young person.

Preparation

An independent co-ordinator works with the child or young person and their parents/carers. They identify all the extended family and friends who may be able to get involved and help out. We find that this helps even if there are family conflicts.

The skilled co-ordinator talks with and prepares everyone who is going to attend the conference. They explain the process and purpose of the FGC. They listen to everyone’s views and explore change in order to achieve positive outcomes for children.

The co-ordinator involves children and young people. They are offered an advocate to help them express their views and wishes at the conference.

The meeting

The agenda of the child or young person and family is clearly stated at the start.  The person who has made the referral and any other professionals invited to take part share their concerns and the help they can offer the family.

The 'bottom line' for keeping the child happy and safe is explained at this point.

The families then have private family time to come up with a safe, supportive plan for the child or young person. It works best when the child or young person's views and wishes are at the centre of this process and the heart of the family plan.

The family plan is then discussed and agreed between the family and referrer. The co-ordinator is there to help the family to decide what is realistic. The family plan is the only record of the meeting and the co-ordinator makes sure that everyone involved gets a copy.

Family monitors are agreed and a date to review the family plan is made.

Priority is given to families where there are concerns about the welfare and safety of a child or young person.  Problems can range from poor school attendance, the loss of a parent, domestic violence, or a child protection plan.

How can my family have a Family Group Conference?

You will need to be referred to the service by a professional who is working with your family.

Please ask them to contact the Early Help Hub on 01872 322277 or earlyhelphub@cornwall.gov.uk