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“Where can Silvia and Maria find a new home?” “Family Group Conference & Guardianship” 

Silvia (14) and Maria (16) suddenly have an official guardian. Their parents have died in a tragic accident. Family and friends quickly find solutions in the acute situation together with the professionals from the youth welfare office, but there are different ideas about the future. The guardian proposes a FGC. In preparation, the FGC coordinator meets everyone and all of them are touched by the situation and want to help. In the preparation, the social worker expresses her concern that the many offers could be too much for the girls. The guardian is experienced and clear in his role; he will ultimately have to make the decisions. However, he also knows that good decisions for the two must be sought in intensive cooperation with the family so that they are sustainable. 

Conducting a FGC in the context of guardianship requires good consultation between the guardian, the social workers responsible for the case, and the family. The guardian is responsible for the decisions made, but as a professional he will not be part of the private discussion. His ideas, together with those of the other specialist, are included in the FGC as minimum requirements. The FGC takes place in a church. 16 relatives and friends come together to consider with Silvia and Maria how things can continue well for them. Silvia and Maria have chosen supporters with whom they have prepared what they want to share. The mood is tense; after all, there are big decisions ahead.  

Uncle Klaus reads a poem as a welcome, and after the introductions, the information phase starts. The proffessionals contribute their view of things. From them, it is important that the girls remain in a familiar environment, e.g., attend their usual school and leisure activities. In addition, the planning should provide enough opportunities for them to rest and process the sad experience. The guardian mentions a stable family framework as a minimum requirement. After questions have been clarified, the professionals and the FGC Coordinator leave the room. Private family time begins. 

After four hours of discussions a comprehensive plan is presented that the professionals agree with. Maria and Silvia are placed in separate families, both locally, at their own request. The existing connections can be maintained. Both families also have children and experience in dealing with adolescents. One housing situation is not optimal, but there are already ideas for improvement. Arrangements are also made for vacations and contact with the rest of the family. As professional support, the accompaniment of a youth therapist is desired. The participants also immediately make an appointment for a follow-up meeting. Everyone is satisfied with the good cooperation. 


A story from Germany

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