Family Group Conferences

Your organisation can commission these courses to be run locally, tailored to your requirements. To discuss this further contact Cathy Ashley This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

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Introduction to family group conferences

A half day course that explains the principles of family group conferences and how they work, the research evidence and considers the implications for their work with families.

The training aims to enable participants to: 

  • Gain an understanding of the family group conference model and an opportunity to discuss the application of the approach to practice
  • Hear research evidence on the impact of family group conferences
  • Find out how family group conferences fit in with local child welfare policies and procedures
  • Consider the use of family group conferences in child welfare, in preventing school exclusions, in youth justice and other situations.

Who should attend: Anyone working with families of children at risk.

Continuing Professional Development (CPD): Social workers: This course would contribute CPD hours.


Developing a family group conference service

This consultancy day is designed out for local authorities and other agencies considering or about to set up a family group conference service. It sets the essentials that need to be in place for the family group conferencing to work, highlights good practice and potential pitfalls and helps organisations to develop an effective plan to set up a sustainable service.

Aims and learning objectives

  • To provide an opportunity to consider what resources, skills, policies and guidelines need to be in place for family group conferences to have maximum impact;
  • consider what family group conferences can achieve and consider the limitations;
  • highlight current research and good practice, and how this can be embedded within the services; and
  • anticipate potential challenges and consider how these can be addressed, including referral criteria, budgets, addressing resistance etc
  • help the organisation to develop an action/implementation plan
  • consider evaluation of the service.

Who should attend: Senior and operational managers and members of steering groups considering or with responsibility for setting up a family group conference service or expanding the service to address other social issues e.g. domestic violence. youth offending etc.

Please note: We are able to offer local authorities and agencies in England interested in setting up a child welfare family group conference service, a free day’s consultancy, funded by the Department for Education. Contact This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. if interested.


Referring and working with a family group conference

This one day course assists any practitioners who may be referring families for a family group conference or may attend a family group conference to give information

Aims and learning outcomes:

The training enables participants to:

  • have an understanding of the family group conference model of working with families
  • gain an understanding of the background and philosophy of family decision making
  • examine key issues in using family group conferences in child welfare;
  • consider the use of family group conference in other situation including in the field of restorative justice and education;
  • develop relevant practice skills, particularly around providing good quality information and support plans;
  • enable staff to have an understanding of the local referral processes and family group conference plans;
  • develop an understanding of the roles and responsibilities of participants in family group conferences.

Who should attend: Any practitioner, including social workers, who refer families for a family group conference or who may attend a family group conference as information givers, such as children’s guardians.

Continuing Professional Development (CPD): Social workers: This course would contribute CPD hours.


Three day family group conference training for new co-ordinators

A course for those with some knowledge of family group conferences and child care planning processes who wish to increase their understanding and obtain the necessary skills to co-ordinate family group conferences.

Aim and learning outcomes:

  • To understand the value basis of family group conferences
  • To understand the legal and policy framework within which family group conferences operate
  • To develop a working knowledge of family group conferences, including understanding the skills in preparing for the family group conference, managing the meeting and the process that follows
  • To recognise the complexities of family led decision-making and to learn skills in managing these complexities and conflicts in families
  • To understand the role of other professionals in the process and at the conference
  • To understand the issues involved in supporting children’s participation in the process
  • To inform participants of the wider accreditation framework
  • To be familiar with research findings in relation to family group conferences and to be signposted for further information
  • To enable participants to be aware of sources of support including the Family Group Conference Network.

Participants are required to have a basic knowledge of the family group conference model and child welfare.

This course also forms part of the first module of the Family Rights Group/University of Chester Postgraduate certificate (link to FGC standards and accreditation) for family group conference co-ordinators for those who wish to pursue this option.

Who should attend: Anyone who wishes to practice as a family group conference co-ordinator.

Continuing Professional Development (CPD): Social workers: This course would contribute CPD hours.


Essential legal information for family group conference co-ordinators

This is a one day course which provides family group conference co-ordinators with an opportunity to gain a solid understanding of the legal framework in which child welfare family group conferences are convened and to explore with colleagues legal and ethical questions which arise in practice.

Aims and learning outcomes:

To understand the legal and practice framework for convening family group conferences including:

  • consent to a family group conference
  • legal options for permanency plans, including implications of new Care Planning Regulations
  • access to support for children, parents and family members
  • local authorities’ powers and duties
  • consideration of confidentiality and record keeping and
  • exploration of family group conferences in the context of court proceedings.

Who should attend: Family group conference co-ordinators and their managers.

Continuing Professional Development (CPD): Social workers: This course would contribute CPD hours.


Engaging children and young people in their family group conference

A one day course run by two trainers, an experienced family group manager who has run young people’s service user group; and a young person with experience of a family group conference

Aims and learning outcomes:

The training aims to enable participants to:

  • think about their own practice and how to involve young people
  • learn about research and current practice in involving young people in family group conferences
  • gain practical advice in involving children and young people in family group conferences and
  • other social care meetings
  • think about how to involve young people in service development.

Who should attend: family group conference co-ordinators, managers and advocates.

Continuing Professional Development (CPD): Social workers: This course would contribute CPD hours.


Advocating for children and vulnerable adults in family group conferences

A one day course for anyone is an advocate in family group conferences or who manages them

Aims and learning outcomes:

To explore the knowledge and skills required for advocates in family group conference including:

  • the family group conference model
  • the role of an advocate in family group conferences
  • the skills needed to be an effective advocacy in family group conference and practice dilemmas
  • the legal and practice framework in which they are operating, particularly when working with children who may be or become subject to care proceedings.

Who should attend: Anyone advocating for children or vulnerable adults in family group conferences and family group conference managers who employ advocates.

Continuing Professional Development (CPD): Social workers: This course would contribute CPD hours.

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