What is a Family Group Conference?
Family Group Conferences (FGC’s) are voluntary decision making meetings to help families find their own solutions to problems. These are sometimes referred to as family meetings.
The FGC process empowers a family and their network to draw on their strengths and resources to make a safe plan for their children. FGC’s ensure the family network have a chance to hear and discuss the concerns. They also give an opportunity for everyone to be listened to including the child and young person(s). It can be an opportunity to be informed of any resources that could help them improve family life. You can find out more about how FGCs came about on the Family Rights Group website.
“The wide use of Family Group Conferences has led to an increase in children who are placed within their extended family, including the use of kinship carers, supervision orders and special guardianship orders.” (from page 29 of the 2015 Ofsted report).
What can I expect in a family group conference?
Every family considering having a FGC is given an independent FGC Coordinator who helps the family discuss the concerns and prepare for their meeting.
The FGC process is family led and families get to choose:
- the venue of the meeting
- time of the meeting (including evening and weekends if it suits the family)
- food at the meeting
- who is invited to the meeting
The family network can include anyone important to family members, not just blood relations. The allocated social worker or key worker for the family will need to be at the FGC to provide information about the concerns. Families are able to invite any other professionals they think would be helpful, but attendance by other professionals is not required. The decisions made at a FGC are agreed by the local authority, as long as they are safe for any children involved.
Family Group Conferences happen in three parts:
1. Information sharing - where the lead professional will talk to the family about the concerns the local authority has. The family can ask questions/get more information about the situation and options available.
2. Private family time - The family is left on their own to discuss the issues and write up their plan. Examples of family plans are available from the Documents section of this page.
3. Agreeing the plan - The whole group gets back together to view the plan, ensure it is clear to everyone at the meeting and anyone who may not be, and gain agreement from the referrer/local authority.
The young people in our Bright Sparx young service user group wanted to share their experience having a FGC. They made the video on this page themselves to explain how FGCs works in their own words.
Family Group Conferences in Leeds
Leeds has three FGC teams that work in different areas of the city. There is a fourth ‘Innovations’ team that is working with families around domestic violence. In the first 6 months of 2015-16 we have held 277 FGCs in
order to meet the needs of 306 children in Leeds. The numbers of looked after
children in Leeds has decreased from 1443 in 2010, to 1235 in March 2016.
E mail: FGCWebcontacts@Leeds.gov.uk
South FGC Team: 0113 3784159
East/Northeast FGC Team: 0113 3784899
West/Northwest FGC Team: 0113 3782474
Innovations FGC Team: 0113 2774102