David F. Piperato, principal, Palisades High School and Joseph J. Roy, principal, Springfield Township High School, Pennsylvania, USA, speak about how to develop a positive, collaborative school culture that supports the school’s educational goals, based on a commitment to establishing relationships among students and staff rooted in mutual caring and respect. The paper was presented at "Dreaming of a New Reality," the Third International Conference on Conferencing, Circles and other Restorative Practices, in Minneapolis, Minnesota, USA, August 8-10, 2002.

Article from "Dreaming of a New Reality" conference program book by Paul McCold, director of research, and Ted Wachtel, president, of the IIRP. The article reports on the results of a 3-year evaluation of the use of a restorative practices milieu in the Community Service Foundation schools in southeastern Pennsylvania.

Tim Newell, governor (retired) of Grendon Prison, U.K., explores the organizational paradigm of prison culture, to shed light on how the very different and potentially valuable restorative justice paradigm can be implemented in prisons. Newell oversaw the successful implementation of restorative justice practices in prisons, involving prisoners in taking personal responsibility for their offending and seeking to make reparation. The paper was presented at "Dreaming of a New Reality," the Third International Conference on Conferencing, Circles and other Restorative Practices, in Minneapolis, Minnesota, USA, August 8-10, 2002.

Elizabeth Quinnett, Program Manager, County of San Diego, California, USA Health and Human Services Agency, Children''s Services, talks about how the Family Unity Meeting process has been implemented in San Diego County, explains the process in detail and discusses the program''s success. The paper was presented at "Dreaming of a New Reality," the Third International Conference on Conferencing, Circles and other Restorative Practices, in Minneapolis, Minnesota, USA, August 8-10, 2002.

Heino Lilles, Territorial Judge, Whitehorse, Canada, discusses his experiences as a judge working with circle sentencing: a restorative justice process that aims to recognize victims''needs and identify offenders''rehabilitative needs, engaging the community and the formal justice system as partners, and to a lesser extent victims and offenders, in the resolution of criminal justice-based disputes. The paper was presented at "Dreaming of a New Reality," the Third International Conference on Conferencing, Circles and other Restorative Practices, in Minneapolis, Minnesota, USA, August 8-10, 2002.

When she was a psychologist working with troubled youth in Hungary, Videa Negrea, now director of Community Service Foundation Hungary, saw that punishments and removing children from their families didn''t help. An internship at the International Institute for Restorative Practices inspired her to bring restorative practices to Hungary. The paper was presented at "Dreaming of a New Reality," the Third International Conference on Conferencing, Circles and other Restorative Practices, in Minneapolis, Minnesota, USA, August 8-10, 2002.

Ted Wachtel, president of the International Institute for Restorative Practices, speaks on the philosophy and history of restorative practices. From family group conferencing to restorative circles, the practices have migrated beyond the field of criminal justice to schools and workplaces, where they have proven useful in resolving wrongdoing and conflicts. The paper was presented at "Dreaming of a New Reality," the Third International Conference on Conferencing, Circles and other Restorative Practices, in Minneapolis, Minnesota, USA, August 8-10, 2002.

By Katharine Cahn, Karin Gunderson, Nancy Shore, Judith Wirth, Briana Yancey

 

ABSTRACT

This article presents the findings of a retrospective study of 70 family group conferences (FGC) conducted in Washington State. These 70 FGCs addressed the well-being of 138 children. The families within the evaluation were primarily referred by foster care units rather than investigative units and involved cases that had been in the child welfare system for over 90 days. Families were invited to participate in the decision-making process, engaging both the maternal and paternal sides of the family with greater success than standard case planning approaches. Children who had a conference experienced high rates of reunification or kinship placement, and low rates of re-referral to CPS. These findings generally remained stable as long as two years post-conference. This study, the largest long-term follow-up study of FGC published to date, suggests that FGCs can be an effective planning approach for families involved with the public child welfare agency, resulting in safe, permanent plans for children at risk.

 

INTRODUCTION

Child welfare policy and practice in the United States have been described in terms of a pendulum, swinging between child safety and family preservation. The landmark Adoption Assistance and Child Welfare Act of 1980 (P.L. 96-272) represented a swing towards family preservation where policies promoted efforts to keep families intact and prevent the placement of children into foster care (Cole, 1995). As the country struggled with rising foster care placements and a number of high profile child deaths in the eighties and nineties, public opinion began to blame this focus on family preservation, and called for renewed attention to child safety.

By Paul McCold and Ted Wachtel. Executive summary of paper presented at the Fourth International Conference on Restorative Justice for Juveniles, Tübingen, Germany, October 1-4, 2000.

Paper by John Howard Society, Moncton, New Brunswick, presented at the "2nd International Conference on Conferencing and Circles", August 10-12, 2000, Toronto, Canada.

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