Welcome - European Network on Family Group Conference

Democratizing help and welfare in Europe
Being heard

‘In the end it is not about being right or about self interest, but about being heard and being treated fairly’, was the conclusion of an employee of the neighbourhood team who had made a referral for a community conference for the residents of two flats. There was a lot of agitation and the neighbourhood team discovered that many colleagues had clients in the flat, separately from each other.

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FGC during a separation

The parents of Paul, 9 years old, are going to be separated. The attempts to manage it together were unsuccessful, everyone is sad. The godmother proposes a FGC to support Paul now.

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I have a family plan!

Tony is 12 years old boy. He is aggressive and often gets into conflicts with his classmates as he challenges them into fighting and boxing. The teacher of the class advices the family to try FGC.

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‘You feel that people care about you’.

Researchers have published about their qualitative research on Family Group conferences for suicidal adolescents in ‘Tijdschrift voor Psychiatrie’ (Magazine for psychiatry). They wrote about one of the cases they researched. It is an impressive story that shows the strength of this adolescent and his circle.

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Old hurts or let the children talk

"I haven't seen my kids in 7 months, I miss them. They say my daughter has started walking, the older boys are in kindergarten. They live with my ex-partner. We communicate only by email", the father told the coordinator during the personal meeting. The mother described her situation in the following words: "The father is not interested in the children. I have offered him several times that he can come to see us. He has not come even once. The best thing would be for him to give up fatherhood. He's been angry to us. The children are afraid of him and don't want to see him. Neither do I anymore. I have a new partner who loves us."

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Outside of a family context

Family Group Conferences can be used outside of a family context. They can be useful to deal with disputes between friends or between employers and employees. Jerome recently worked on a case that encountered both, where the boundary between friendship and work was confused.

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The story of a following family group conference

The first conference happend in the year 2019. The initiator of the conference was a single mom with a little baby, nearly one year old. The mother unfortunately had a chronical illness. She often had to go to the hospital or sometimes she had to call the ambulance in the night, when it was nessecary to have a doctor quickly. At the moment of the first family group conference the mother lived together with her sister.

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Petra and her grandmother

‘I want to take my granddaughter and educate her. Her mother shoved her out of the house and she has gone to live with the family of a friend. She’s sleeping in the living room’.

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Giving trust makes a big difference

‘A great example of giving trust’, said my colleague this week when she told me about a Family Group Conference for four children. She was talking about the trust that the Family Guardian had in a family, in a situation that was not simple and where the concerns were big.

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Tunnel dad

Cristina is a Family Group Coordinator who was struggling to get in contact with a father. He is a full-time activist, which meant he was either up a tree or underground in London’s tunnels, out of reception and reach. She was trying to contacting him to arrange a meeting.

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Seven years a plan

It was a sunny summer’s day, I still remember very well… I found a letter in our mailbox. To: volunteer Anke and to all the people of EKC, 7 years ago, an Eigen Kracht-conferentie (editer’s note: ‘an EKc’ is the Dutch translation of a FGC) took place for my foster daughter Saskia and her daughter Lotte. It was not simple, we were quite nervous.

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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.

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