Family group conferences draw upon Maori culture and their development was a response to the large number of Maori children being removed into state institutions. Family group conferences are now recognised in law in New Zealand, in fact it is a requirement that before any child can be taken into state care, a referral for a family group conference must be made.
The development of family group conferences in England began in the early 1990s when Family Rights Group invited a group of practitioners from New Zealand to share information and their experience of practice. Subsequently the charity has continued to lead the way in promoting the development of FGCs in England, Wales and Scotland, leading an FGC network, running training and consultancy services, hosting events and co-partnering international conferences on FGCs, publishing newsletters, books and a training pack to support agencies in developing FGC and promoting the FGC model through lobbying.
Family group conferences are used in over 20 countries including Austria, Australia, Canada, Finland, Germany, Holland, Hungary, Ireland, Israel, Italy, Japan, New Zealand, Norway, Poland, Serbia, Slovakia, South Africa, Sri Lanka, the USA and the UK.