Call 01892 506924

Independent Social Work Services UK
Independent Social 
            Workers London

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?

Stage One

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.

Stage Two

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.

Stage Three

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.

We are often looking to expand our country-wide network of Independent Social Workers and as you ... read more
BLOG view all
Work pressures affect Social Workers’ ability to protect Children
A survey by the British Association of Social Workers last week revealed that a staggering amount of Front Line Social Workers feel that they have been unable to protect children in their care due to the pressure of work.... read more
Is the government to blame for Child Protection Chief Executive’s resignation?
Jim Gamble resigned as Chief Executive of the Child Exploitation and Online Protection Centre (CEOP) on Monday, leading to widespread criticism of the government’s actions involving the agency.... read more
Looked after children statistics released by the Department for Education
30th September saw a Statistical First Release (SFR) of information regarding the numbers of looked after children in the UK. It also looked into the reason a child is looked after, their legal status and the type of placement they are currently in. The information also takes into account the numbers of children no longer looked after, and the number who started to be looked after during the year ending 31 March 2010.... read more
BBC appeal lifts restriction on naming Local Authority
A court appeal by the BBC has lifted restrictions on naming a local authority after a recent court case.... read more
57 weeks for a Family Court decision
It seems ironic that the recent comments about Independent Social Workers by Ms Marion Davis are followed by research highlighting the length of time it takes for Family Court proceedings. The research by Barnardos shows that an average of 57 weeks pass before a decision is made.... read more
Are Independent Social Workers just an ‘expensive part of the landscape’?
It is a little over a month since Ms Marion Davis, president of the Association of Directors of Children’s Services released a statement regarding the use of Independent Social Workers during court proceedings.... read more
Join Our Directory...