The aims and objectives of FGC are:
• To empower the family to participate in the care and protection of the children and take parental responsibility whenever possible.
• To explore the resources available from within the family, the local community and relevant agencies both statutory and voluntary.
• To agree on an appropriate plan which will meet the needs of the children, and strengthen future relationships.
• To keep children at home whenever possible.
How do I make a referral?
Family Group Conferencing should be discussed with the family and young person prior to the referral and they should sign the referral to consent to their information being shared.
You can also attend FGC surgeries to discuss the case with the FGC coordinator or contact them by phone before completing and submitting the referral form.
If the referral is accepted, the Coordinator will meet the family and young person and will discuss who will be present at the conference. The Coordinator will then contact all other relevant parties and meet with them to prepare them for the FGC.
Your role in the process
It is important to be mindful that the information you provide on the FGC referral form, will be shared with the entire family, and therefore consent to share this information must be sought from the parents and young person involved. Please ensure the information is in simple language and in a non jargon format, focussing on the strengths of the family as well as the concerns. This will then be used as the foundation for preparing the family for their FGC.
You will also need to pose questions for the family to consider and try and find answers to. These answers will form the basis of their family plan and therefore the questions should be aimed at the issues and concerns that need to be addressed. For example ‘How can the home conditions be improved?’ or ‘Who could take on the care of the child if parents cannot address the issues? The wording for the questions can be discussed during one of the surgeries, or over the phone when discussing the case.
Should the referrer know of any disagreements between the family – which may hinder the FGC process – then the possibility of mediation can also be discussed and become part of the preparation process. It is a process in which a third party (FGC Coordinator) helps disputing parties or family members reach an amicable agreement.
The coordinator will not take sides or make any decisions.
Initially the coordinator talks with both sides separately to identify issues and explore options for mediation to enable the FGC process to succeed.
The parties would then meet up with the coordinator to discuss the issues and negotiate ways to reach an agreement, where everyone involved feel it is fair and they can fully engage at the family group conference.
Mediation will take place prior to the FGC.
Whenever possible the risk of violence from an individual family member should be reported to the Principal Coordinator., and a risk assessment should accompany the FGC referral.
During the conference you will be expected to outline your involvement and your concerns and any help or resources you can provide, if available.
You will be expected to remain for the entire conference to be on hand to answer any queries the family may have and to agree their family plan.
Once the family plan has been agreed the monitoring and reviewing process will be decided.
A copy of the plan will be given to every participant so that they know what is expected of them and within what timescale, if relevant.
The plan should be accepted by professionals unless it places the children at risk of significant harm.
Please see below a list of electronic versions of the FGC referral form.
For more information contact Family Group Coordinator.
Telephone: 01384 816155