Edge of Care Family Group Conferencing Service

Purpose of the Family Group Conference

To provide support to parent/carer(s), in order to avoid the need for accommodation by the local authority of a child/young person and or care proceedings.

To support the rehabilitation home from local authority care, by identifying options for care or support to a carer.

To identify possible options for permanency through a child arrangement order or special guardianship order.

As part of a pre-birth assessment.

To identify options for a young person being discharged from a custodial sentence.  

To support 16/17 year olds at risk of homelessness.

What is a Family Group Conference (FGC)?

A Family Group Conferencethis external link will open in a new window is a voluntary process in which families can meet together, to find solutions to problems that they and their children are facing, within a professionally supportive framework. The Family Group Conference process involves all family members, friends and other adults who the family feel can contribute to making plans for the children.

Family Group Conferences are based on the principle of working in partnership. The decision makers at Family Group Conferences are the family members and not the professionals

  • Families have more knowledge about themselves than professionals, which can lead them to make better decisions;

  • Families are able to make good decisions about their children, provided they are given the opportunity and information to do so;

  • Family difficulties can be resolved by involving friends and extended family;

  • Families have the strongest potential and motivation to care for their own children;

  • Families provide identity and continuity for their children's future;

  • Families can make culturally sensitive plans;

  • Children are generally best looked after by their own families;

  • Children should be involved and appropriately participate in the decision making process.

Expectations of referrals

Social worker has completed a check on extended family members and has therefore identified that a family group conference is a viable option.

Social worker has made the referral with sufficient time for the service to complete the family group conference (on average a family group conference will take about six weeks)

Social worker is clear on what could not be considered as part of the plan.

Social worker has discussed with and had agreement from the person with parental responsibility to engage in the family group conference process. This may be done as part of a PLO agreement but ideally would be completed before to divert from the need for PLO.

The conference is part of a social work intervention and forms part of the assessment. It is not family mediation.

The family group conference  coordinator will support the family to organise and facilitate the family group conference to  make a plan to support the children and keep them safe.

The social worker will agree /or not agree the plan at the conference and a family member is appointed as the monitor of the plan.

A review date, will be offered and agreed at conference, to monitor progress and address challenges.

Steven.Coskin@cumbria.gov.uk (07796 941246)

Helen.Churchman@cumbria.gov.uk (07557 565726)

Gillian.Lee@cumbria.gov.uk (07825 606550)

Talia.McMillan@cumbria.gov.uk (08725 782989)

 

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