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How to make a referral to the Family Group Conference service and next steps

The Family Group Conference (FGC) is committed to integrating and promoting anti-discriminatory practice and equality of opportunity. This means that we believe all children have the right to be safe, to be respected and able to access opportunities to enable them to develop their full potential and enjoy their childhood. We are committed to working in partnership with children and families and seek to maintain a child-focused, culturally appropriate approach in all our lives.

As a social worker if you think the Family Group Conference service could help:

  • rehabilitate a child
  • stabilise a child's placement
  • the child maintain a relationship with birth or kinship parent

you can make a referral (PDF) to us. On receipt our coordinator will contact you to set up a baseline meeting, which usually takes place within five days of us receiving the referral. The coordinator can arrange urgent conferences at your request, to take place within 24 hours. In these cases the referral and baseline documents can be completed at the baseline meeting.

The baseline meeting

This meeting will involve the referring social worker, the Family Group Conference coordinator and, where possible, the senior Family Group Conference coordinator and the assistant team manager. Its purpose is to:

  • make sure the objective of the referral is clear
  • obtain the child and family information needed
  • work out the questions the family needs to address in their Family Group Conference
  • confirm the local authority's bottom lines – these are things that are non-negotiable, for example, if a child cannot be allowed to live with a certain person
  • confirm the resources available to the family, child or young person.

A note of the meeting is made and cleared with those who attended. If the referral meeting could not be held within the five working day timescale, the reason(s) are kept on file.

For more information on how the Family Group Conference service works please read our policies and procedures (PDF) and if you are taking part in a Family Group Conference our terms of reference (PDF) explain how we operate. Our user participation policy (PDF) can guide you through what is expected from people taking part.

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