Family Group Conference
What is a Family Group Conference (FGC)?
This is a process involving a child’s wider family in planning how to safe guard a child and deciding where a child is going to live. The idea of Family Group Conferences originates from New Zealand. The concept is considered by Independent Social Workers to be good practice in cases where alternative care arrangements are being sought for a child. A Family Group Conference involves gathering family members together to meet and formulate a plan of action.
When is a Family Group Conference necessary?
A Family Group Conference is necessary if it is considered not to be in a child’s best interest to remain with their parents/current carers. In the first instance the Independent Social Worker should consider wider family members, in line with the belief that children are best placed with people they already know. Local Authorities following the Public Law Outline (PLO) are expected to have held a Family Group Conference and ascertained whether there are any viable family members who could care for a child, prior to initiating care proceedings.
What is the process?
An Avocet Independent Social Worker will meet with the Local Authority Social Worker to gain information about the family and to be provided with contact details for all the relevant family members.
The Independent Social Worker coordinates the Family Group Conference. They make contact with all the family members and relevant professionals and prepare them for the meeting. The Independent Social Worker is responsible for identifying a suitable venue for the meeting. The Social Worker will also arrange it for a time convenient to all those involved including, where appropriate, the child.
The Independent Social Worker convenes the meeting and then leaves the family to have ‘family time’, in which to devise their plan for the child. The Independent Social Worker is available throughout this time should the family need them. When the family has formulated their plan the coordinator and the professionals re-join the family to consider agreement of the plan and set a date to review the plan.
Avocet aims to convene a Family Group Conference within 6 weeks of receiving a referral.
Court must be informed “immediately” in the event of any non-compliance. In Re W (Children) EWFC 22, the President has reminded practitioners that parties in cases in the Family Court are not permitted to amend a timetable fixed by the court without the prior approval of the court. In that case, in breach of a case […]... read more
Cartoon by Fran as published in Community Care e-bulletin this week.... read more
Current child neglect laws have been criticised for focusing on the physical effects of abuse only. Ofsted finds child-neglect failings One in 10 UK children ‘neglected’ Bid to change child neglect laws The government is “seriously” considering introducing a new offence of emotional cruelty to children, the BBC understands. The proposed change to neglect laws […]... read more