Family Group Conference
Family Group Conference is a culturally respectful, family-centered decision-making process that brings together a family group, social workers and other service providers to develop a plan for the safety and well-being of children.
Family Group Conference may be used at any time after a social worker has determined that a child needs protection and the social worker and parent(s) agree that such a meeting would be appropriate to plan for the child's safety and well-being.
A number of countries use the family group conference process and it has been found to do the following:
• keep children safer than otherwise by allowing more timely decisions to be made;
• enable families to actively participate in making decisions about the safety and wellbeing of their children;
• strengthen family relationships by helping members work together to find solutions to their challenges;
• ensure that the family knows about and has access to resources and services that may help; and
• decreases the need for court involvement .
The coordinator works with family members and the social worker to identify participants. Typically, participants include immediate and extended family members, friends, and other supportive individuals (such as neighbors, teachers, and coaches) as well as service providers, the social worker and the coordinator.
Families are at the center of the decision-making, recognizing that they know best what they need to provide for the care and safety of their children. This department believes families should have the opportunity to develop a plan that ensures the safety and well-being of their children.
The coordinator is a neutral individual with no child protection decision-making authority who guides the process and ensures everyone can safely participate.
After a conference, the coordinator provides a copy of the plan for the care of the child to the participants. The participants, in turn, put the plan into action and share responsibility for monitoring how well it is working and identifying any challenges that may arise. The social worker may support participants in putting the plan into action. A family group conference review may be held at the request of the social worker or parent.
For further information please forward you inquiry to FGC/CF@GNB.CA or contact a regional office.
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