Family Group Conferencing
What is a Family Group Conference (FGC)?
- Family group conferencing brings your family members, friends, and others who care about you and your child(ren) together to plan for the safety and well-being of your child(ren).
Who is in the family?
- Your family is made up of your relatives, friends, and anyone who feels like family to you.
Why use FGC?
- It gives everyone the opportunity to discuss the safety and well-being of your child(ren).
- You know your child(ren) and other family members best.
- It helps you consider the resources available within and outside your family, and how best to utilize them.
- The open dialogue gives you the opportunity to understand the opinions of professionals and other family members.
How is the meeting arranged?
- You can make a request for a FGC through your CAS case worker. Your CAS case worker then contacts the Coordinator to arrange a meeting with you.
- The Coordinator will explain the Conference process, ask you who belongs to your family, what other people you feel are part of the family, and how they can be contacted.
- The Coordinator will approach these people, and invite them to and ask them who else should attend.
- The Coordinator will also ask you which service providers should attend the meeting, and may also suggest speakers who could bring useful information.
- Child care, refreshments, and a good meal will be provided, as well as travel arrangements.
How long does it take?
- The meeting lasts until at least one plan of care has been presented by the family. Please set aside the day for the conference.
What happens in a FGC?
- Welcome and Information
- The Coordinator greets and welcomes everyone, and opens the meeting as per your family’s traditions.
- The purpose of the meeting is outlined and everyone introduces themselves, and shares a hope for the day.
- Guidelines for respectful discussion are outlined.
- Safety plans are outlined, if needed.
- Service providers share information about the strengths and worries about the family.
- Speakers share specific information about issues and suggest services that could be available.
- Family Private Time
- The family group has time to meet alone to consider new ways to help the child and family.
- A plan is agreed upon within the family group private time.
- Review of Plan
- The plan you and your family develop is presented to the CAS case worker and supervisor.
- The details of putting the plan into place are discussed and accepted.
- A time to meet again to review progress may be set.
- A copy of the plan will be sent to you within 10 days of the meeting.
- What you can expect?
- To share your view of the situation with the family.
- To share opinion on how best to deal with the situation.
- To work together as a family to present a plan, or plans which ensures the safety and care of everyone in the family.
How to prepare for the FGC:
- Imagine what the meeting might be like.
- Think about how you might feel.
- Plan what you want to say and if it helps, write it down.
- Reflect on how you may affect others, and how they might feel.
- Consider what you want from the meeting.
- Help the family member to express their opinion and to feel safe, if you have been invited to be someone’s support person.
What to expect from the Service Provider:
- Will identify the strengths in the family.
- Will share their concerns with the family.
- Will be clear about any bottom lines they have for the family.
- Will mention any resources that may be useful to the family.
The role of a resource person / speaker is to:
- Use clear language to describe how the problem can affect a family and its members.
- Outline what other families with this type of problem have used and what might be available to this family.