Family Group Conference

What is the Family Group Conference Service?

Every family is unique, each having it's own culture, personality, personal dynamics and history. All families come up against problems from time to time. Family group conferences can help you to sort out some more difficult situations involving children in an easier way, with help from family and friends. Some may need help from:

  • social services
  • health services
  • the education department
  • other agencies.

Family group conferences are a way of getting together and making the best plan for children. The decision makers here are family members, not professionals. A family group conference coordinator organises the meeting, and invites the relevant people and make sure everyone at the meeting has the information they need to make decisions.

What happens at a family group conference?

Your coordinator will guide you and your family through from beginning to end. Remember to ask if you have any questions.

Your coordinator comes out to meet with you; this is where you can share what the problems are and what ideas or suggestions you may have to solve them. They will ask you if you think anyone needs to be at your family group conference, and they will also discuss with you who it may be helpful to invite.

They will ask you to suggest a venue; this should be neutral for all family members and somewhere you will feel comfortable. Your coordinator is there to bring the family group conference together and will be neutral. They will agree some ground-rules with you and make sure everyone sticks to them.

At the moment we don't take self referrals. If your child has a social worker or if you get support from one of our local support teams you could ask them to refer you.

There are 5 stages in the process:

Information sharing

The workers present their information on:

  • services
  • resources
  • any new concerns that need addressing

The child or young person will have a chance to share their wishes and feelings with the help of their advocate. The family may ask questions about the resources available to them, and they can ask for any other information they may need to be able to write their plan.

Private family time

The family will have some privacy to talk things through together. During this time they will be able to decide on the best solution for them and write their plan.

Agreeing the plan

Once the family have talked things through and made a decision for a plan, the coordinator and referrer will rejoin the family. They will agree if the plan meets the original reason for family group conference and does not put the child at risk.

The coordinator emails the plan to everyone who attended the family group conference. They also email the plan to the referrer's team manager for agreement. If the plan could put the child or children at risk, the family would need to look at the plan again and amend it.

Implementing the plan

The local authority will then begin to work with the family to put the plan into action.

Review

You will also get the opportunity to have a review session at a later stage.

How do I contact the Staffordshire Family Group Conference Service?

Please see our contacts page for information on contacting the family group conference service.

If you cannot find what you are looking for, please feel free to email us with your question to fgc@staffordshire.gov.uk.

Further Information

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