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Family Group Conferencing in child protection: An evaluation

  • Chris Trotter (a1) and Rosemary Sheehan (a1)

Abstract

Family Group Conferencing (FGC) in child protection is a method of involving families in planning. This paper reports on a study undertaken in the Victorian child protection system, which examined (1) the extent to which the Victorian FGC program actually involves families in the planning process, (2) the extent to which FGC develops case plans which are appropriate, and (3) the extent to which FGC develops case plans which are sustained over time. Researchers observed 28 conferences and phone interviews were conducted with more than 100 participants including family members, staff members and representatives of non-government agencies providing placement and support services. The results suggest that FGC is more successful in involving family members in case planning than more traditional planning processes. Family members believe that FGC leads to more appropriate case plans which are more likely to be sustained. Child protection workers on the other hand believe that more appropriate case plans are developed in traditional planning meetings, rather than FGCs, and that case plans developed in traditional meetings are more likely to be sustained over time. Possible explanations for these findings are discussed, in particular that FGCs may be used for more difficult cases.

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Department of Human Services (1993) ‘Family Group Conferences in Protection and Care’, Program Document, Melbourne.
Hassall, I. (1996) ‘Origin and Development of Family Group Conferences’, in Hudson, et al, Family Group Conferences, Federation Press/Criminal Justice Press, NSW.
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Trotter, C., Sheehan, R., Liddell, M., Strong, D. & Laragy, C. (1998) An Evaluation of the Implementation of Family Group Conferencing in Victoria, Department of Human Services, Melbourne.

Family Group Conferencing in child protection: An evaluation

  • Chris Trotter (a1) and Rosemary Sheehan (a1)

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