A Family Group Conference is a meeting of the extended family network and friends together with those working professionally and directly with the family, including a qualified coordinator who facilitates the entire FGC process. It is essentially a decision making and planning meeting which takes place to address a particular concern about one or more individuals.
Sarah was struggling with alcohol misuse which had resulted in concerns around neglect and lack of care of her son *James. Mum had not previously engaged with professionals who had tried to support with her issues.
Social care were involved with Sarah and her son, and due to the escalation of their concerns for James they made a referral to Safe and Sound for a Family Group Conference.
The Family Group Conference Coordinator made a visit to mum to discuss the process and answer any questions and concerns. They talked through the issues to be addressed at conference and identified the wider family that Sarah wanted to be present. The Coordinator then visited those family members to prepare them for the conference.
At Conference the family all attended and worked together to create a safety plan around Sarah and James, to ensure that he was safe and supported at all times. The social worker was able to agree to all areas on the Plan and a timetable of support was put in place.
The Family all came together again for a review meeting three months later, where the plan was revisited. It was found that although mum Sarah’s alcohol use had increased, due to the plan being in place James had been kept safe and protected through this challenging period.
The family discussed the plan at review and made some amendments.
The family felt that the Family Group Conference had strengthened their ability to work together and for Sarah to be more open and transparent about her alcohol use.
*names changed to protect the family.