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Advice and support on services for children and families

Family group conferencing

What is family Group Conferencing (FGC)?

A family meeting bringing together extended family when there are child welfare concerns. 

The meeting is child centred, led by the family and supported by professionals. It supports the family to develop a plan to protect and support the child or children.

There are five key elements to the family group conference process:

  1. is the primary decision making forum for a child or children
  2. is made up of as wide a network of family members as possible (including grandparents, siblings, uncles, aunts, parents, child, family, friends)
  3. an independent co-ordinator facilitates the involvement of the child or children, family network and professionals in the process
  4. the family should always have private time at the family group conference to produce their plans for the child or children
  5. the family group conference plan should be agreed and resourced unless it places the child at risk of significant harm

FGC is voluntary and can be offered to children young people and their families who want to engage to resolve their differences.

There is a clear structure and process, bringing the extended family together to focus on a specific outcome or action and work out how they move forward to resolve.

The principles of FGC are:

  • the child's interests are paramount
  • the child should have the resources made available for his or her voice to be heard
  • the child's views, feelings and solutions are as valid as the adults participating in the process
  • children are generally best looked after within their families and services should seek to promote this wherever possible
  • working in partnership with families is beneficial for children
  • families have the ability to make rational and sound decisions about their future and the future of the children involved
  • given the right environment and the correct information, families instinctively know what is best for the children

FGC is available in our service for children, young people and their families. 

FGCs can be offered to a family on more than one occasion and there is no restriction on the status or type of case, whether it be classified as voluntary or statutory order, child protection or other children looked after.

We have a small team of staff who support and facilitate the process. They work with the family and the social worker or support worker is involved in the process.  

Feedback from the North Lanarkshire Family Group Conference Evaluation Report 2019

Workers’ feedback

“I would highly recommend. I witnessed the positive impact that it had on the family.  They could be heard laughing and joking and there was a real sense of family.  It helped to establish new routes of communication”.

Family feedback

“Over the moon to finally have the opportunity to have contact with xxx and xxx, everything is going really well and delighted to be having contact xxx and with daughters again”.

“This is what the family have always wanted and we are delighted to have the opportunity”.

“My relationship with my own daughter has improved and I am now able to offer her more support. My grandchildren now visit me and I feel it has given me the opportunity to bond with them.”.

For more information

Each social work locality team has a FGC champion who can be contacted for more information. Alternatively, email FGC@northlan.gov.uk to discuss how a family meeting could help you.

Page last updated:
02 Sep 2020

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