Edited by Cathy Ashley,Family Rights Group
STAR RATING: 5/5
Funded by the Department for Education and Skills, this toolkit is targeted at practitioners and local authorities wishing to plan and implement family group conference (FGC) services, writes Sharon Inglis.
Yet because it is written in such a clear and concise way, it will also appeal to family members who may be involved in groups supporting agencies in their planning.
The book sets out the principles behind the practice, outlines the FGC model and explores some of the evidence that supports the positive outcomes for children. It fills a void of good quality information about the implementation of family group conference services.
There is an excellent chapter that sets FGCs within the legal framework. This is followed by good information about the implementation of FGC services, based on the past 10 years’ experience.
The penultimate chapter is packed with ideas about the application of FGCs in such areas as antisocial behaviour, permanency planning, leaving care, supporting young carers and so on. This chapter is brought alive by some excellent case studies, many written in partnership with family members, which illustrate how powerful and complex it can be to work with families in this way.
My one concern about the toolkit was that it left me wanting a more in-depth discussion about some of the issues raised in the practice described, but I am reliably informed that it is to be followed early this year by another publication that will do just that.
Sharon Inglis is family group conference co-ordinator, children and young people’s directorate, West Berkshire