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A practitioner’s perspective

Andrea* is a social worker and describes FGC as a great tool. Like a multi-tool that combines utensils such as a nail file and bottle opener into one, the FGC tool is multi-functional. One innovative use of the ‘tool’ is to bring a family or network together, with one family member firmly at the centre, to find ways to better protect and support that person. Another function of the FGC ‘tool’ is to take the pressure off when she is overwhelmed by her caseload.

Andrea has found that no family refuses an FGC once it is explained to them that this is their meeting, totally designed to help them make their own plan.

She recently worked with an older couple Meena and Abrha and their family at a time when they were in a crisis linked to an anticipated move from the family home into in a residential care home. Andrea found that the process of FGC, which includes information gathering, planning and private family time gave Meena, Abrha and their family members the time and space to properly consider what everyone wanted and needed in the long term.

Andrea described the FGC coordinator’s experience in having difficult conversations with families as key to having a productive meeting. In this instance the coordinator built a rapport with the family and together the family produced two plans, one for each Meena and Abrha.

Andrea spoke about how it feels good as a practitioner to have the FGC coordinator chairing the meeting, meaning that she can focus on what is being said and how she can help the person and their family to agree and develop their shared plan. She is trying to raise FGC’s profile amongst her colleagues. She encourages other social workers to see FGC meetings’ value as making a caseload easier and not harder, as many expect. Andrea wants to help other practitioners discover FGC and take full advantage of the ‘tool’ at their fingertips.

*all names have been changed