Family Dispute

A FGC is a process led by family members to plan and make decisions for a child who is at risk. Children/young people and vulnerable adults are normally involved in their own FGC, although often with support from an advocate. It is a voluntary process and families cannot be forced to have a FGC.

FGC is a meeting of the extended family and friends to make decisions and plans for resolving problems around a child/young person or vulnerable adult in a number of different contexts. The FGC is a process that draws the family together with professionals, to share information and help the family draft its own plan by keeping them at the centre of the process. The FGC ensure the resources and strengths within the family network are explored for the benefit for the child/young person and adult.

FGCs are more effective when used at an early stage where there are concerns about the safety and welfare of a child/young person or adult. Evidence and research suggest that FGCs have proven to be beneficial for social care and families by reducing the number of children entering state care. 

Family Group Conferences (FGCs)

Why have a FGC?

We believe that families know more about their situation than professionals and can often make better decisions and plans for their children, young person and vulnerable adults. Our aim is to support families to find their own solutions to problems: the family members are the decision makers rather than the professionals and the ‘family’ is the primary planning group.

Some examples of FGC Referrals include support for:

  • a lone parent,

  • families struggling with substance misuse,

  • domestic violence,

  • elderly abuse,

  • young carer,

  • offending or potential offending behaviour of a young person,

  • problems with school attendance or behaviour,

  • reducing the number of children entering state care,

  • helping relatives to care for children or young people

  • contact arrangements for parents, non-resident parents or extended family members,

  • family members due to problems caused by divorce or separation

  • rehabilitation of children to the care of their family,

  • families caring for children with disabilities or complex health needs,

  • parents with terminal illnesses,

  • adults with mental health issues,

  • parent/s with a mental or physical disability

  • children and young people leaving care and a transition back home,

  • concerns around neglect

 

These are a few examples of where FGCs have been held. FGCs can work in any situation and circumstances. The question you need to ask yourself is “WHY have you not had a FGC?” 

FGCs – What is the process?

Before the conferencethere is agreement between the family members and the referrers that a FGC should be held. An independent coordinator is then appointed who will set up the meeting and prepare the family members.

A FGC Coordinator:

  • Will meet each family member to help them prepare for the meeting

  • Decide who should be invited and when and where the meeting should take place.

  • Will support children and young people to play a central role in the meeting.

 

All information shared with the coordinator will remain confidential unless it poses a risk to someone.

 

The Meeting is in Three Parts:

 

Stage 1: Information giving

The worker involved will explain to the family:

  • Why they are worried about the children/young person or vulnerable adult

  • What resources and services are available to support the family.

 

At this stage the family may also ask for any additional information they need to help in drawing up a plan to resolve the problems.

Stage 2: Private family time

This is time for the family to talk in private so that they can:

  • discuss the information provided

  • work out and agree a plan

  • decide who will be responsible for each aspect of the plan

  • decide what support they need

  • decide how they can check the plan is working

  • come up with a back-up plan in case it is needed

 

Stage 3: Agreeing the plan

Once the family have agreed the plan:

  • This is then shared with the coordinator and the referrer.

  • The plan will be accepted unless it places the child/young person or adult at risk or does not address the original concerns.

 

After the conference

The plan will be written up by the coordinator and copies will be sent to everyone involved in implementing the plan. A review will be arranged within 12/13 weeks of the original plan. 

What If there is no agreement at the FGC?

If families cannot agree a safe plan it may be possible to hold another FGC. If this is not possible alternative ways of resolving these concerns will be made by the referrer and the coordinator. 

How can I get an FGC arranged?

You can ask your social workers, solicitor or any other organisations that you are working with or you can contact us directly.

Shuttle Conferences
(Domestic Violence)

Shuttle Conferencing is the same as FGC, but we use this way of working if we have to protect a person due to domestic violence and /or extreme conflict and if court restriction orders have been placed.

One way to protect a victim of domestic violence during the process of conferencing is to separate the parties into different rooms, with the facilitator moving between the two rooms during the negotiations, called shuttle conferencing separate conferencing days can also be arranged.

In both cases, the victim may be more at ease and he/she can rely on the facilitator to transfer information between the parties. However, neither of these forms of separate conferencing will negate the effect of the past fears of the victim, nor his/her fears of what may occur in the future. But what we can negate is that all family members, friends, and professionals are aware of the concerns and can be managed by all concerned, fully supporting the victim and taking the control away from the perpetrator.

Therapy Session
Teen study group
Community Conferences

Your Family Matters offers to help with group disputes. Our key trained mediators are experienced in facilitating ‘community conferences.’

Community conferencing aims to bring together everyone in a community that is affected by a conflict. A trained facilitator will help key people to look at how the problem is affecting those involved and how to negotiate long-lasting solutions. All members of the community, young and old, have an equal voice at a community conference. Agency workers such as neighbourhood wardens, communities workers, police, housing officers, councillors, social services, and youth workers may also be involved.

Community Conferencing works on the following essential principles:

  • Bring together members of the community

  • Involve relevant agencies to help

  • Support local residents

  • Identify possible solutions

  • Build skills in conflict resolution

  • Reduce police call outs

  • Build an understanding between everyone.

 

Do contact us to book a session or to find out more information.

Restorative FGCs

Restorative FGCs have been successfully used for many years in a variety of settings, including schools, workplaces, social housing, in communities, and within the criminal justice system.

When there is a conflict between two or more people or an offence has been committed. Those involved are brought together by an independent and qualified person to discuss what has happened from all points of view, encouraging communication, enabling everyone affected by a particular incident to play a part in repairing the harm and finding a positive way forward.

Restorative FGC are facilitated through a voluntary meeting or conference (dependant on the circumstances and type of behaviour/offence), Which holds offenders to account for what they have done, personally and directly, letting them understand the real impact of their actions, take responsibility and help repair the harm they have done.

In criminal justice, restorative FGCs gives many victims of harm with the opportunity to tell the offenders of the impact of their crime, get answers to their questions, to gain an understanding as to why what happened to them happened, help them to move on with their lives and get an apology.

Restorative FGCs can be used to address a wide range of issues from non-criminal behaviour all the way through to serious offences including sexual, hate and violent crime.

Restorative FGCs approaches are based on four key features:

  • RESPECT – for everyone by listening to other opinions and learning to value them

  • RESPONSIBILTY – taking responsibility for your own actions

  • REPAIR – developing the skills within our community so that its individual members have the necessary skills to identify solutions that repair harm and ensure behaviours are not repeated

  • RE-INTEGRATION – working through a structured, supportive process that aims to solve the problem and allows young people to remain in mainstream education, training and employment.

 

Restorative FGCs are increasingly being used in schools, care homes and the wider community to address conflict, build understanding and strengthen relationships with young people.

Distanced Couple
Support Group
B. A. M. E Conferences

The process for BAME FGCs is the same as FGCs. The key difference is that a bilingual coordinator will chair and facilitate the FGC removing the barrier and use of interpreters.  The meeting will be held if your first language with someone who understands and speaks your language and culture.

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BRADFORD | 1208A Thornton Road | BD1 2JN

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SALFORD | Eccles Gateway | 28 Barton Lane | Eccles | Manchester | M30 0TU

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