Welcome - European Network on Family Group Conference

Democratizing help and welfare in Europe
Where is a safe place to live for Jacob?

Jakob, a nine years old very smart and clever boy, was taken into care after his stepfather became violent towards him. His mother, could not help him because she was drunk. Social Services were alarmed and Jacob went into stationary care some time and lived now with his aunt´s family. He wanted to go back to his mother.

His mother had changed her situation, she lived sober, had therapy and had left the violent partner.  Also Jacob´s father, who was in prison in that difficult time, stabilized his own life.

Jakobs mother had a really good cooperation with the social services, so she wanted them to decide if Jakob could return. The social worker suggested an FGG – telling her that it was very important that the family made that important decision themselves and she agreed. The preparation was not easy, there were a lot of ‘old’ tensions in the family. Jakobs mother was very brave and with the good preparation she dared to invite everyone. So, after two months the FGC was held with 10 participants. Jacob decided to draw a picture of his wish. The athmosphere at the start was very tense,  Especially the father´s family  (grandma and aunt) were very skeptical and emotionally charged. The coordinator was asked to stay for moderation, but she gently told the family that they were surely able to manage this.

After 2.5 hours, they called her back, smiling, very happy they presented a really good plan to which everyone agreed. Transition back home was to happen gradually, first spending all the vacations with the mother, until he can change schools after summer. It included a contingency plan to tell immediately when the mother felt bad with her, now four children, and to get help from the others. Everyone wants to help so that of Jacob can live safely with his mother and siblings. The socialworkers happily agreed.

(the names in this story are fictional)


A story from Germany

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