Family Group conferencing offers families a chance to get together and to make plans or decisions when there are difficulties facing them. They are different from other meetings because it is the family, and its network that makes the plan. They are also respectful of a families’ racial, cultural and religious heritage.
Why have a meeting?
We know that families are able to make good decisions and plans about their children. They often do not get a chance to do so when agencies are involved in their lives. To make these plans, families need to have all the necessary information. This includes an understanding of why professionals are involved with them; as well as information on financial, or practical assistance, and support.
Step 1 Before a meeting (Referral & Preparation)
The family will be contacted by a co-ordinator, whose jobs it is to explain the process and will make all the necessary arrangements (an agreed time and place). This person is someone who is independent of education or social services, and should be able to speak in the language spoken at home by the family. If they cannot, translators will be provided.
Step 2 At a meeting (Information Sharing)
The co-ordinator will chair the meeting — introduce the referrer and families to each other. The co-ordinator will then get the referrer to give the family a clear, straightforward and respectful account of their concerns; followed by what assistance could be available. The family will get opportunity to ask questions, and get clarity of any points that they didn’t understand.
Step 3 During Meeting (Private Family Time)
Once the co-ordinator is satisfied that the family understands the issues, the family will be left in private to talk things through. If the family need further information, the Co-ordinator and/or the referrer will be available. It may take some time to discuss the situation and decide on the best solution. We will ensure the family is as comfortable as possible and if necessary, provide things for the child(ren) to do. Families may not always agree. If that happens, the co-ordinator will try to help the family come to some agreement.
Step 4 During Meeting (Presentation & Agreement of Plan)
When the family has worked out its decisions, the co-ordinator and the referrer will rejoin the meeting. Provided the decision would not endanger the child(ren), the plan will be accepted. The referrer and co-ordinator will work with the family to put the plan into action. A copy will be sent to all those important to the success of the plan.
What if the child or young person does not agree with the family decision or plan?
The view of professionals is that children and young people should be involved in the Connecting Families meeting, and their wishes and feelings taken into consideration. Families do usually include the young person or child in making plans; but if there are any real differences, the family can ask the co-ordinator for help.
Step 5 Follow-up (Monitoring & Reviewing)
Depending on the requirements of the plan, it will be monitored by the co-ordinator who will arrange a further meeting to review the situation.
Your right to complain?
We will always ask for your feedback. An evaluation form will be provided for you to give your comments. You are unhappy in anyway, you can always contact the project manager.
For more information about Family Group Conferencing look here.
If you would like a arrange a Family Group Conference phone 0207 241 1646 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.