Use this page to find out what a Family Group Conference (FGC) involves, what it aims to achieve, and to make a request for referral to this service.
The aims of an FGC
FGCs are at the heart of our approach to supporting families to develop their own solutions to difficulties with the care of their children. An FGC is a voluntary, informal meeting with your wider family network, where you can discuss any concerns, and make a safe plan for the future. The aim of this type of meeting is to use your family's own skills, strengths and personal knowledge of your needs and challenges, to work together to resolve your difficulties. The following are typical issues that could be the focus of an FGC:
- Finding ways to support primary carers
- Looking at how you can manage family time
- Identifying kinship carers
- Making reunification plans
The people who attend an FGC
Parents, carers, and the person who refers you to the FGC service normally attend the meeting. A major benefit of an FGC is that your child participates and can influence the plan being made for them, with the help of an advocate, if appropriate.
Any of the following people can also be involved in an FGC:
- Wider family members
- Family friends
- Other professionals that you would like to invite
The FGC is organised and chaired by an FGC coordinator, who is independent from our social work service, and has no decision-making powers or responsibilities. Most families and workers value this neutrality, as well as private family time to allow you to decide on your plan.
How the FGC process works
Once you have requested this service, the FGC coordinator will contact you to help make arrangements to set up the meeting. You remain in control of when and how the meeting happens, and the FGC coordinator will support you to choose details like the time, place, who to invite, and other practical details, such as the food and refreshments which will be provided as part of the service. They can also tell you about resources to support you in improving your family life. When you have looked at your options and discussed the process with the FGC coordinator, you can decide if you want to proceed or not.
If you go ahead, you will get support from the FGC coordinator to record any plans you make at the FGC. Reviews are offered around 6 to 8 weeks after the FGC, if appropriate, to discuss how well the plan is working.
Find out more details on the FGC process at the Family Rights Group website.
How to request an FGC
Please ask your social worker or children's centre outreach worker, if you think that an FGC might be helpful for your family. If you're unsure, you can ask any professional working with your family, or contact us on 01225 396 999 to discuss a referral to this service.
An FGC coordinator will arrange an introductory visit, to get to know you and your family's needs, and also discuss what you want to achieve, and how we can help to get you there.