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 being made for the child concerned. It enables families and friends to take responsibility for the child and 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 living or about returning a child from care to the family.
- The family needs help to cope better.
- A child/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 help you arrange the meeting and help prepare everyone who will attend.
The coordinator will help you decide who needs to attend the meeting and where and when you want it to occur. The coordinator ensures the child feels supported at the meeting so everyone can hear their wishes and feelings. Could you help decide who needs to be at the FGC and meet and prepare everyone attending?
They will help set a meeting date, time and venue and help organise refreshments for family and guests.
There are three parts to the meeting:
1. Information sharing
Your family and those who work with you meet to share information about their concerns and what help might be available from within the family and elsewhere. Everyone, including the child (if they wish), can 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 upon unless it places the child at risk of harm.
After the meeting
A date will be agreed upon to see how the plan works (a review). Your coordinator will send a copy of the plan to everyone invited to the meeting. This will be done within 3 to 5 working days.
If a review has been agreed, your coordinator will reach out to you a couple of weeks before the review to agree on arrangements.