A New Option in Child Protection Planning
Kelowna Community Resources in partnership with the Ministry of Child and Family Development
What is a Family Group Conference?
A Family Group Conference (FGC) is a special meeting of parents, children, extended family and those who feel like family. The purpose is to allow the family the opportunity to create a plan for children who are in need of protection. Measures to protect children from harm can be most effective when they are developed using the input, strengths and resources of immediate and extended family.
When is a Family Group Conference Available?
At any time after a child protection social worker has determined that a child is in need of protection and when the social worker and the parent(s) agree that a Family Group Conference would be the appropriate way to plan for the child’s safety and well-being. The social worker then makes a referral to the Family Group Conference Coordinator.
Who is the FGC Coordinator and what is her/her role?
The FGC coordinator is an independent and neutral person who prepares participants to come together for a child-centered, family-driven planning meeting. After parental consent is given, she works with the parents to identify and invite family members. She prepares each person to participate in a constructive and positive way. She ensures that the child’s views will be heard and considers the safety and comfort of all who attend and oversees the meeting.
What Happens on the Day of the Conference?
The coordinator ensures the participants stay focused on the child’s needs. The child protection social worker attends the first part of the meeting to clearly state what the concerns are and what risks must be addressed in the plan. Others, usually professionals, may also attend to give information about their involvement as is necessary for the family to make a plan for the child. The family may ask questions to those who give information.
Private Family Time
The family is given time alone in complete privacy to discuss what they have heard and develop a plan to address the child’s safety and well-being.
Family Presents the Plan
When the family comes up with a plan, the coordinator and social worker come back into the room to hear the plan. The social worker consents to the plan if it protects the child from harm. The coordinator writes down the agreed-upon plan and gives each participant a copy following the conference.