1. Positive Partnerships

As we have discussed in previous blogs FGC (Family and Group Conference) is quite different from other formal meetings with professionals. The key feature of engagement and participation in FGC is that no one person should dominate the meeting. Instead, it is a collective effort to create a realistic plan for the person in safeguarding or overcoming issues.

In recent years, we have emphasised the importance of “working with” the people who require social care/work. Providing care for those who need help and support is a complex task, and there is no single method that can address every individual’s needs.

A person-centred approach is critical in encouraging participation, empowering the individual, increasing autonomy, and strengthening relationships. It also ensures that the person receives the most effective support to achieve the best positive outcome.

The partnership between the person and the professionals provides an excellent opportunity for everyone to learn and grow. It is a transformative process where the person gains insight into what happened and the confidence to speak up or collaborate with others. On the other hand, professionals can gain valuable experience and knowledge on an emotional and practical level through the process that can only be learned by doing it.

FGC, therefore, is not just a tool, model, approach, or process that only benefits the person/family. It is actually beneficial for everyone involved.

Family Group Meetings promote positive partnerships between the adult their informal network, and professionals. The FGC model encourages collaboration and shared decision-making between families and professionals, fostering a sense of mutual respect and trust.

Furthermore, FGCs promote positive partnerships within families themselves. By involving all family members, regardless of age or role, in the decision-making process, the FGC empowers each individual to contribute their thoughts and perspectives. This inclusive approach strengthens familial bonds and enhances the sense of shared responsibility.

Offering an FGC to a family and giving them the choice is central, although timing can be important. Each family has unique circumstances, and the coordinator should work with them to determine when the right time is for their FGC. Additionally, discussing who should be present and what specific outcomes can be achieved helps set clear expectations and objectives.

Having the opportunity to voice one’s opinions and concerns is crucial in FGCs. The informal nature of these meetings creates a safe space where participants can freely express themselves, exercise their agency, and potentially influence the decisions made. This sense of empowerment can lead to meaningful change and positive outcomes for the family.

Each FGC should be tailored to the specific needs and circumstances of that adult and their network. Rather than adopting a one-size-fits-all approach, the coordinator should ensure that the FGC is bespoke and customized to meet the unique requirements of the family. This personalization enhances engagement and ownership of the decision-making process.

In summary, engaging and involving participants is vital in Family Group Conferencing. Engaging through food, widening the circle, recognizing the family as a resourceful resource, and fostering positive partnerships between families and professionals are essential elements. Offering families, the choice, ensuring their voices.