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Family group conferences originated in New Zealand in 1989 and are grounded in the Maori culture. Since its inception there has been interest from academics and researchers into the family group conference model, many seeing it as a significant shift in practice worthy of detailed study. Family group conferences are now used in approximately 30 countries worldwide and in at least 22 countries in Europe. As their use has spread they have been subject to considerable academic scrutiny and over the last two decades a substantial body of research has grown both in the UK and worldwide.

Some useful studies to consider in the first instance are:

For a detailed account of the evidence concerning outcomes from family group conference

Knowledge Review on Family Group Conferencing, Experiences and Outcomes

Karen J Skaale Havnen and Øivin Christiansen (2014)
Regional Centre for Child and Youth Mental Health and Child Welfare (RKBU West), Uni Research Health


For an analysis exploring how the perspectives and experiences of different family group conference participants influences the outcomes of family group conferences

Reimagining child welfare outcomes: learning from Family Group Conferencing Child and Family Social Work

Mary Mitchell Dr (2019)
The School of Social and Political Science, The University of Edinburgh, Edinburgh, UK


For an account of family group conferences as central to introducing systemic practice widely within a local authority

Leeds Family Valued Evaluation report

Paul Mason (ICF) with: Harry Ferguson (University of Nottingham); Kate Morris (University of Sheffield); Tony Munton (The RTK); and Robin Sen (University of Sheffield) (July 2017)


For a review of family group conferences internationally

A Survey of International Practices, Policy and Research on Family Group Conferencing and Related Practices.

Paul Nixon, Gale Burford, Andrew Quinn, and Josh Edelbaum (2005)
Colorado: National Center on Family Group Decision Making, American Humane


Contributors address the use of family group conferences in different circumstances, including child welfare, education, domestic violence and youth justice from a research, policy and practice perspective

Family Group Conferences – Where Next? Policies and Practices for the Future

Cathy Ashley, Paul Nixon (2007). Family Rights Group

Not available to download as an eBook. However, individual chapters are available on request to cashley@frg.org.uk.

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