Our Practice in Manchester

Family Group Conferencing (FGC)

The FGC process is family led and includes private time for the family to make a plan in response to concerns. The central focus of the FGC is the child / children and they are encouraged and supported to have their voice heard. Every family is unique and the FGC process reflects and respects the culture and specific needs of the family and is driven by them. Alonzi House provides a Family Group Conference (FGC) 

A family group conference is a process led by family members to plan and make decisions for a child who is at risk. It is a voluntary process and families cannot be forced to have a family group conference.

Families, including extended family members are assisted by an independent family group conference coordinator to prepare for the meeting. At the first part of the meeting, social workers and other professionals set out their concerns and what support could be made available. In the second part of the meeting family members then meet on their own to make a plan for the child. The family should be supported to carry out the plan, unless it is not safe. 

Pre-conference preparation

The family group conference process

Information sharing

This part of the meeting is chaired by the co-ordinator. They will make sure that everyone is introduced, that everyone present understands the purpose and process of the family group conference and agrees how the meeting will be conducted including ground rules. The Social Worker with their manager shares their worries (the reason for the conference) and bottom lines (e.g. that the child must not have contact with a particular person) and what action will be taken if the family can not make a plan or the plan is not agreed. information they hold about the child and the family that will assist the family to make the plan. The child/young person and family members may also provide information, ask for clarification or raise questions.

Family Time

Family members are then provided time to talk among themselves and come up with a plan that addresses the worries (a plan) and identify resources and support which are required from agencies, as well as within the family, to make the plan work.

Plan and agreement

After the family have developed their plan, this is presented to the social worker and their manager be the co-ordinator to discuss and agree the plan and any resources to be provided. If the plan can not be agreed the reason(s) for not accepting the plan must be made clear at the time and the family given the opportunity to respond to the concerns and change or add to the plan. It is important to ensure that the children involved have a clear understanding of what is decided and that their views are understood.

Resources are discussed and agreed with the agency concerned, and it is important that, at this point, timescales and names of those responsible for any tasks are clarified. Contingency plans, monitoring arrangements and how to review the plan also need to be agreed.

The co-ordinator provides the agreed plan to family members involved and to the social worker and other relevant professionals.

Developed by: Stephen Brock, M.S.W., Social Work Consultant. 

© 2020