Welcome - European Network on Family Group Conference

Democratizing help and welfare in Europe
LISA – and her family group conference-

Lisa, a 16 year old girl, grew up in a strictly religious family in Germany. The elder she became, the less she felt understood and welcomed in her family, and she started doubting in the way of (religious) life her parents lived. She felt suppressed by her parent´s convictions and their ideas of life. Lisa started to rebel against her parents and their ideology, started consuming different drugs, get in trouble with friends and finally suffered panic attacs.

Lisa herself asked for help in an emergency for mental diseases and finally the youth welfare service took care of her. Lisa moved into a kind of youth shelter accomodation as a short term solution because she refused to go back home. But the family needed a plan for the future. As well the child care asked the family to create a plan for Lisa´s future within a family group conference. So an independent coordinator contacted the family. Lisa wanted to organize a family group conference (fgc) but her parents and aunt felt very sceptical: Too many conflicts have been fought and too much worries have been felt. Impossible to imagine, that the circle of family and friends could find solutions and perspectives that would work. Furthermore the parents did not share their daughter´s feelings of depression and rebellion. They felt concerned about Lisa´s situation and disappointed about the trouble she caused. For that it was a tough job for the coordinator to convice the family of the potentials of a fgc.

Finally a big circle of 22 people joined the conference. The reunion took 7 hours in total, so it was a hole day of conferencing, planing, resting, eating and working together. The longer it took the more relaxed and relieved the circle worked together. The family group created a plan for Lisa´s future and took some decisions. They decided that Lisa will stay at least 4 months at her auntie´s place and will visit her parents twice a week. In a follow up conference they planned to discuss the future situation and create a plan for the next time. In the end everybody was happy and proud about the process they created and the decisions they took. The child care was accepting and supporting the family´s plan too. The responsibility ended up in the well-caring hands of Lisa and her family and friends.


A story from Germany

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