FAMILIES ACHIEVING CHANGE TEAM
Family Group Conference Information for Children and Young People
- Every family is special and different and all families can experience problems from time to time. When things are difficult, other family members and family friends can sometimes help.
- A Family Group Conference gives you and your family network a chance to get together and come up with a plan to try and make things better.
You and your family decide who they want to invite to the conference. For example, this can include extended family, friends, and neighbours or any person who is significant in your life.
- The Convenor will introduce the meeting and the Social Worker will explain why a Family Group Conference is taking place. The Convenor will ask if you and your mum/dad/carer/network if they want to make any ground rules and then ask the Social Worker what they hope the meeting will achieve for you and your family. Any other important information will also be shared at this point.
- The Advocate is the person who will support you in the meeting. They can enable you to share your wishes and feelings. This can be done by writing a statement together that either you or the advocate can read out, or you will have the opportunity to speak. The advocate will be your support throughout this process and will be there if you get stuck or forget something.
- The Convenor, Advocate and Social Worker will then leave the meeting and you, your family and network will have their ‘private time’. This is where you will all create your plan. This can take minutes or hours depending on the different issues. There are no time restrictions and it is your choice if you want the advocate to stay with you during this ‘private time’.
- When the plan is complete the Convenor, Advocate and Social Worker will return to the meeting room and re-join you all.
- It is the Social Worker’s responsibility to agree if the plan is safe and to then authorise it.
A copy of the plan will be given to you all and will also be stored on your records held by the Social Worker. If your family and network want to have a further meeting to review the plan this date will be set at this point.
Family Group Conferences are used all over the country and they work because they are not about people telling you and your family what to do, they are about you and your family deciding yourselves what to do and what will work best. With continued support to help make things better, it is much more likely to be successful.