What is a family group conference?
A family group conference (FGC) is a meeting for family and friends to come together to be involved in the decisions that are being made for the child concerned. It is a way of enabling families and friends to take responsibility for the child and to find solutions to address family and professional concerns.
Who can be referred?
An FGC will be arranged when:
- A child/ren needs to be kept safe from harm.
- A decision needs to be taken about where a child is live or about returning a child from care to the family.
- The family needs help to cope better.
- A children/ren is not attending school.
- To prevent a child/ren from being excluded from school or after exclusion to address how to return.
- A child/ren is at risk of offending, or their offending behaviour needs addressing.
How is the meeting arranged?
An independent FGC Coordinator will come and help you to arrange the meeting and help prepare everyone who is going to attend.
The Coordinator will help you decide who needs to be at the meeting and where and when you want it to take place. The Coordinator’s role is to make sure the child feels supported at the meeting so their wishes and feelings can be heard by everyone. Help decide who needs to be at the FGC and meet and prepare everyone who is going to attend.
They will help set a date, time and venue for the meeting and help organise refreshments for family and guests.
There are 3 parts to the meeting:
1. Information sharing
Your family and those who work with you meet together to share information about the concerns they have and what help might be available from within the family and elsewhere. Everyone, including the child (if they wish) will have a chance to speak and ask any questions.
2. Private family time
Your family and friends have time alone to discuss what you have heard in information sharing. You will then come up with a plan to try and make things better and safer for your child in the future.
3. Sharing of the plan
When you are ready the Coordinator and the people working with your family will rejoin you so that you can share your plan.
The plan is usually agreed unless it places the child at risk of harm.
After the meeting
A date will be agreed to come back together to see how the plan is working (a review). Your Coordinator will send out a copy of the plan to everyone who was invited to the meeting. This will be done within 3 to 5 working days.
If a review has been agreed your Coordinator will contact you a couple of weeks before the Review to agree arrangements.