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, "What child protection can teach adult safeguarding - and vice versa." In this piece, which appeared in Community Care, Fisher explains how "At Camden Council we are following in the footsteps of local authorities like Hampshire and Kent by commissioning family group conferences for adult service users and their families." 

Family group conferencing (FGC) has long since entered the mainstream of social work practice in children’s services, with three-quarters of local authorities commissioning child welfare FGCs, according to the Family Rights Group. Now increasingly FGC and restorative approaches are on the radar of commissioners in adult services, resulting in child welfare FGC professionals being asked to deliver adult FGCs and embarking on interesting collaborations with their adults' services colleagues.

Lyn Romeo, assistant director adult social care, and soon to take up post as England’s first chief social worker for adults, says: “We saw an opportunity to bring the benefits of family group conferencing to adult social care with the added advantage of forging a creative link between adult and children’s services in the important area of service user involvement and personalisation.”

Adults' services colleagues recognised FGC as a useful tool for the personalisation of services and they easily identified potential benefits:

  • empowering family as decision-makers;
  • improving partnership working between family and other partners;
  • harmonising previously fractured relationships; and
  • maintaining service users in the community for longer. 

Professor Frank Früchtel, from the Potsdam University of Applied Sciences and a keynote speaker at the IIRP's 12th World Conference is quoted in the article:

“FGCs ... do more than problem-solving," he says. "They are building relationships and supporting a greater degree of self-help – actually, I prefer 'we-help', since the side-effect is the strengthening of relationships. People start to support each other, or at least to care for each other. FGC is therefore a way of community building.”

Read What child protection can teach adult safeguarding - and vice versa. Thanks to Jim McGrath (@NetCareNI) for posting.

Visit IIRP's Family Power project site.

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