Family Group Conferencing Evidence, impact and evaluation

Family Group Conferencing comes from New Zealand and has been used in the UK for 20 years. We’re the first organisation to adapt it for black and mixed heritage families. 

We’re working with the Family Rights Group, an expert organisation specialising in creating and developing Family Group Conferences. 

Why Family Group Conferencing is needed 

We know that black, Afro-Caribbean and mixed heritage children and families are over-represented in the child protection system. Our research tells us that this isn’t because they’re more at risk and we know it isn’t due to where they live or issues such as poverty or isolation. So we want to look at tackling engagement and communication problems as a way to reduce the number of children unnecessarily entering care.

People who work with children and families have to build relationships with families when English might not be their first language. It can also be difficult for them to understand important parts of their culture and religion.

Family Group Conferencing offers a way to consider the cultural and language needs of minority ethnic families. We make sure that we have time to understand issues, support families and identify the strengths within a family network.

By identifying and working to build on the existing and potential strengths of family systems, we can help them to develop solutions to protect children. We aim to help children before they need more support from the child protection system.

How do we know it works?

We’re evaluating Family Group Conferencing by asking families and people who work with children and families to describe their experiences and what has made the most difference to them agreeing with a safe care plan.  

We’ll also be looking at the demographic data, such as age and education, to better understand how, when and where Family Group Conferences can be most effective. 

We’ll use this to create guidance that others can use to help minority ethnic families – both in the UK and internationally. This will help us build a better future for these children. 

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