Community and Family

  • drug and alcohol counselingWhen teenagers turn to drugs and alcohol in ways that damage their lives and relationships, it’s challenging to help them turn their lives around. The choice to use alcohol and drugs can mask other underlying issues, including shame and other painful emotions, and can be exacerbated by the difficulties of communication. This article explores how everyday language can be used within a restorative framework to help parents of teens struggling with drug abuse and addiction to reintegrate in a healthy way with their families, schools, friends and communities.

    Drug and alcohol counselor Elizabeth Smull, who has worked primarily with teens


  • Henry McClendon, a pastor, program officer with the Skillman Foundation and IIRP licensed trainer and board member, delivered this talk at the IIRP's 16th World Conference in October, 2013, in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania, USA.

  • Screen Shot 2013-10-09 at 12.58.12 PMEigen Kracht (Dutch for “Our Power”) is a non-profit organization that has done an incredible amount of grassroots work throughout the Netherlands to make the family group conference (FGC, which in North America is known as Family Group Decision Making or FGDM) the go-to process for empowering people and their communities of care to find solutions to some of their most pressing problems. Eigenkracht has trained community volunteers throughout the country to interface with social services and other government agencies, to coordinate with families, and come up with plans, particularly with regards to caring for children at risk of placement in


  • In this piece, journalist Robert Koehler unearths one of the roots of the restorative justice movement in the work of an indigenous community in Manitoba that reached "deep into their souls and into the roots of a lost way of life, to save their children and the future."

    Sincere thanks to Koehler for allowing us to repost this piece in full.

  • The Family Group Conference or FGC (known as Family Group Decision Making or FGDM in North America) is a restorative practice that involves extended family, and sometimes close friends and community, in a process of solution-focused problem-solving.

  • Screen Shot 2013-09-04 at 8.20.12 AMHilary Davies, the restorative practices project manager for the city and county of Swansea, Wales, UK, wrote the following post to discuss the region's efforts to become a restorative city.


    “It’ll change your life, it’ll change you!”

    These are the opinions of Chelsea who was excluded from two comprehensive schools due to bad behaviour resulting in her being moved to a pupil referral unit. As the only girl out of 13 boys in the class, she found this tough, and there were times when she’d ‘kick off’ and retreat to the corner of the class. Following the training the


  • This beautifully animated short film walks through a Family Group Decision Making conference (FGDM, also known as a Family Group Conference) from the point of view of a mother at risk of losing her children.


    Norwegian Directorate for Children, Youth and Family Affairs (Bufdir) is the Norwegian governmental office for the welfare and protection of children and families.

    This video is also available in Norwegian and Russian.

    Watch a similar video


  • Tim Fisher, Camden, UK, family group conference service manager, discusses program that uses FGC (also known as FGDM) with adults.Tim Fisher, the family group conferencing manager in Camden, UK, discusses an innovative program to use FGC (also known as FGDM) with adults.

    The following are excerpts from an article by Tim Fisher, the family group conferencing manager in Camden, UK, "...

  • National Conference on Restorative JusticeThis Friday, June 21, at 9:15 am, IIRP assistant professor and director of continuing education Dr. John Bailie will present a breakout session titled, "Restorative Schools and Restorative Zones: A Whole-Community Approach to Limiting Youth Contact with Police and Justice Systems," at the Fourth National Conference on Restorative Justice in Toledo, Ohio. The theme for the conference is "Keepin' It Real – Race and Restorative Justice." John sent along the following to describe the scope of his talk, which is


  • This animated video walks through a family group decision making conference (FGDM) from a child's perspective. It could certainly be used to educate people, but I could also see it being very useful to help children understand what to expect about FGC/FGDM conferences.

  • "Evening sky over Tallaght, Dublin" by pc-world at Flickr Creative Commons"Evening sky over Tallaght, Dublin" by pc-world at Flickr Creative CommonsThe Irish Independent reports on a restorative practices program in Tallaght, a large neighborhood in Dublin, Ireland. In addition to having trained teachers in schools, the program also involves


  • Screen Shot 2013-05-22 at 4.11.39 PMDuring the school year, Kristen Swanson teaches middle school at Pennridge School District in eastern Pennsylvania, USA. But this summer she will be leading a group to the nation of Rwanda in Africa to provide a learning experience for a new generation of children’s writers.

    Rwanda, which is still recovering from the genocide committed there in the 1990s, will welcome Kristen and a team of experienced writers to Kigali, the nation’s capital, to deliver a writing workshop. The team's goal is to “build a culture of books starting with the very youngest readers” and “to spread stories of courage, forgiveness and reconciliation to the next


  • Screen Shot 2013-05-10 at 12.27.33 PMLast month John Bailie, IIRP’s Director of Continuing Education, was invited to speak at a conference in the state of Delaware, U.S.A., called “Partnering for Educational Success: Helping Youth in Care.” The overall focus was to explore how people could begin to better serve youth in their respective counties by working together across schools, the juvenile justice system and social work.

    Sponsors of the conference included the Family Court of Delaware, the Delaware Department of Education, the Department of Children, Youth and Their Families, and the Office of the Child Advocate, with opening remarks by the chief judge, and the


  • Moment of silence for Boston bombing victims. Photo by Rebecca Hildreth at Flick Creative CommonsMoment of silence for Boston bombing victims. Photo by Rebecca Hildreth at Flick Creative Commons

    Pierre R. Berastaín, a student at Harvard Divinity School, proposes that restorative circle processes be used to address the violence last week at the Boston Marathon, and the frayed feelings of people throughout the city of Boston and elsewhere. Writing on a Huffington Post blog, in a piece titled "Restorative Justice: Re-storying What


  • Screen Shot 2013-04-12 at 3.00.15 PMTerry O'Connell has a chapter, called "Conflict and Relationships: Restorative Ways of Building Community," in a new book titled Peace in Action: Practices, Policies and Perspectives That Make a Difference, edited by Raymond John R. King, Victor MacGill, Roger Wescombe. The book is a collection of papers from the Rotary Peace Communities International Conference held in Wagga Wagga, New South Wales, Australia, in 2012. Terry is director of Real Justice Australia, and he developed the Real Justice script and the

  • Talking circle / photo by Christianity TodayTalking circle / photo by Christianity Today

    Here's an excerpt from an excellent article that appeared this week in Christianity Today. "Detroit Students Restore Peace by Talking It Out" by Charles Honey begins with an anecdote of a restorative circle used to resolve an argument that led to threats, which took place one weekend between a group of teenaged girls over social media. The article then goes on to quote Henry McClendon, Michigan Regional


  • Tony Schwartz of the Energy ProjectTony Schwartz of the Energy Project The following is a powerful excerpt from a blog post by Tony Schwartz, president and CEO of The Energy Project, at Harvard Business Review's blog network. It provides a great example of how what we would call "restorative circles," both proactive and responsive, can be used successfully to build social capital in a corporate business setting:

    For two years now, we have been holding regular


  • IIRP President Ted Wachtel will be one of three presenters in a free webinar on Thursday, April 11th, 2013, at 11:00 am (ET), 8:00 am (PT). The webinar is part of a series of webinars funded by Health Canada on substance abuse prevention. The objective for this session is to show the linkages that are needed between "health" and "justice" programs.

    The webinar is titled: "Suspension Alternatives, Diversion, Restorative Practices & Reintegration: Partnerships among Police, Health, Social Services and Education Ministries/Agencies." The other participants are Richard Deribe, Coordinator, Restorative Justice Schools Program, Nova Scotia, and Theresa Campbell, Safe Schools Coordinator, Surrey School Board, British Columbia.

  • Twenty community members from across the Lehigh Valley, Pennsylvania, USA, met Tuesday, March 26, to hear about creating a "restorative zone."

    The meeting was led by IIRP president Ted Wachtel and  assistant professor and director of continuing education John Bailie, with presentations by Bethlehem Area School District supervisor of minority affairs Vivian Robledo-Shorey and Allentown School District executive director of community & student services Susan Lozada.

    Participants included a Pennsylvania state police officer, Allentown Mayor's Office and the Lehigh Valley District Attorney's Office representatives, Allentown and Bethlehem school district administrators, a Lehigh University professor, an attorney, several pastors, community center leaders and social services


  • Screen-Shot-2013-03-15-at-3.06.39-PMNot long ago I was driving in my car and tuned to my local free radio station. I was pleasantly surprised to find myself listening to an hour-long interview about restorative justice with Danielle of New York City based Rockdove Collective. She is very articulate about restorative justice and also discusses some unique ways that restorative justice can be used to support victims of domestic violence. In place of a Sunday video, this week I'm posting the full audio interview.

    [audio:|titles=Danielle of Rockdove Collective speaking about restorative justice on Madness Radio]

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