What is Family Group Conferencing?
Why have a Family Group Conference?
Why is Family Group Conferencing important?
- Families have a right to participate in decision-making
- Families are competent to make decisions
- Families make successful and appropriate plans
- Allows for collaborations between the family and child welfare workers
Aboriginal Family Decision Making (AFDM)
Aboriginal family decision-making is a program specific to the state of Victoria since 2005. Family decision-making conferences are organized using a partnership model between a worker from DHS and a worker from a local Aboriginal agency, and include the involvement of the ACSASS worker.
The process used is based on the New Zealand developed model of family group conferencing and includes:
“Information sharing, private family time and agreeing plans. The model provides a framework that assists participants moving from what has happened (history) and where we are now (present) to making plans for what will happen (future).”
(Family Led Decision Making Guidelines, 2013)
As of 2013, Aboriginal Family Decision Making has been redeveloped and now sits within the ‘Family Led Decision-Making’ program that includes the mainstream family group conferencing model. However, distinct features of Aboriginal Family Decision Making are still kept in the new program.
A significant change in this new model is that the government is now required to offer families Aboriginal Family Decision Making as soon as child protection concerns have been raised, unless the matter is proceeding to court.
Aboriginal Family Decision Making must also be offered at case planning and case plan review stages for children on child protection orders.
Why is this important for you to know?
What is your role in this?
You may like to think about discussing this with your caseworker!
Links to further information about Family Group Conferencing and Aboriginal Family Decision Making (Victoria):
1 Hunstman, Leone Literature review family group conferencing in a child welfare context. Centre for Parenting & Research, Funding & Business Analysis Division NSW Department of Community Services (2006), 1
2 Harris, Nathan ‘Family group conferencing in Australia 15 years on’ National Child Protection Clearinghouse issue paper No27 (2008), 3
3 Harris, Nathan ‘Family group conferencing in Australia 15 years on’ National Child Protection Clearinghouse issue paper No27 (2008), 3
4 Harris, Nathan ‘Family group conferencing in Australia 15 years on’ National Child Protection Clearinghouse issue paper No27 (2008), 3
5 Family Led Decision Making guidelines (2013)