Welcome - European Network on Family Group Conference

Democratizing help and welfare in Europe
Can it really be that simple?

The child protector was disappointed: ‘Plans that clients make together with their network, always contain elements that I couldn’t think of myself. That is the reason that I find it important that people make their own plan, without me being present. But this plan contains so few obligations that I don’t know what to do with it.’ This professional called one of my colleagues to consult. The plan met the conditions for safety that he himself had set. For that reason he had to approve the plan, but he has doubts about it.

Emergency numbers
Step by step my colleague went through the plan with the child protector. The conditions were met. If tension in the house rises, the oldest son can go to the neighbours or friends down the street. If they are not at home, he has three numbers that he can call. For mother there are two emergency numbers and a friend that she can visit. Mothers’ boyfriend will not visit her anymore when the children are at home. ‘There is nothing in the plan about atraining for resistance and assertiveness for mother or therapy for the children’, sighed the child protector, ‘I have given a lot of information about the possibilities and the network thought that professional help was needed. The plan says nothing about professional help. How can that be right?’

The child protector understood that training or specific help are his wishes and are not directly about the safety of the children. ‘But I still have the feeling that more is needed here’. Fortunately there are starting points in the plan to keep an eye on what will happen. The first three months there will be an evaluation moment each four weeks with everybody involved. ‘I can join those meetings’.

This week my colleague spoke to the child protector for a new referral. He told her: ’Do you remember the conference that took place some months ago, about which I was disappointed. It goes beyond expectations. Since mother and son both have an escape route when it seems to go wrong, it hardly ever goes wrong anymore. The support of the people around them, even if it is only about calling or passing by, ensures that they are firmly in the shoes. I can keep an eye on the progress, without having to insist on solutions, because everything is going very well. Right after the conference, I couldn’t believe that it really can be this simple.’


A story from The Netherlands

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