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Family Group Conference

What is a Family Group Conference?

Family Group Conferences (FGCs) usually include participation by parents, children, extended family, caregivers, community members, and the referring Social Worker.

The family takes a lead role in decision making and plan development during an FGC process. Social Workers will participate at the beginning and end of the meeting, providing time for the family to develop a plan on their own.

The resulting Family Plan is reviewed by the Social Worker to ensure it addresses identified child safety concerns.FGCs vary in length and can take up to a full day.

Who Requests a Family Group Conference?

MCFD and Delegated Aboriginal Agency Social Workers can make a referral for SIWS to facilitate a Family Group Conference (FGC) for Aboriginal families who have an open child protection file. FGCs involve immediate and extended family in planning for the safety, placement, or permanent care of a child in care. FGCs are often used when other approaches have not resulted in the effective reduction of child safety concerns.

What are the activities and who participates?

The SIWS Family Advocate is a neutral coordinator / facilitator who will:

  • Work with family and professionals to identify people with connections to the child and parents to participate in the FGC (i.e. extended family, community members, and professionals).
  • Arrange transportation for out of town participants.
  • Arrange cultural or traditional ceremonies if requested.
  • Facilitate a collaborative meeting that includes:
    • Information sharing and identification of child safety concerns.
    • Designated “private family time” for family members to develop their own plan.
    • Documentation of a plan that is agreed to by all participants.
    • An opportunity for the Social Worker to review the plan and request adjustments if needed.
    • Social Worker approval of the plan, if it adequately addresses the safety and permanency needs of the child.

    What are the outcomes ?

    FGC results in a plan that describes:

    • How to ensure the child’s safety.
    • Access and connection to the child’s family, community, and culture.
    • Action steps and individual responsibilities to implement the plan.
    • A stable/permanent placement for the child.

    Outcomes from an FGC include:

    • More children in the care of extended family.
    • Improved placement stability and permanence.
    • Improved connection to family, culture, and community.