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3.6 Family Group Meetings

Contents

  1. Objective
  2. Legal and Policy Status
  3. Key Points
  4. Standards


1. Objective

  • To provide families with the opportunity to come together with the support of an independent organisation to make a plan for their children and carry out that plan in a way that offers a real chance for success. Family is defined broadly to include the children, the parents, extended family and other adults who are concerned and care for the child;
  • To seek to prevent Family Breakdown;
  • To seek to prevent the need for the Council to accommodate a child or young person;
  • Prior to Court confirm under Public Law Outline.


2. Legal and Policy Status

  • The Children Act 1989;
  • The Children Act 2004;
  • Every Child Matters (2003);  
  • Care Matters: Children on the Edge of Care;
  • Children & Young Persons Act 2008.


3. Key Points

A voluntary organisation has been commissioned via a Service Level Agreement to provide this service.

  • A rolling programme of training is being provided by the organisation to Children's Social Care staff regarding the Family Group meeting purpose and process;
  • Families who would benefit from access to this service are identified by a Field Social Worker who discusses this option with a Team Manager;
  • If agreed following discussion with the Service Manager - Fieldwork, the Worker will seek the family's agreement to the referral;
  • On rare occasions the Service Manager may advocate proceeding with a Family Group Meeting referral without the agreement of parents;
  • If the family agree, the Social Worker completes the referral form and forwards this to the voluntary organisations, Project Manager who then allocates a Family Group Meeting Co-ordinator;
  • The Co-ordinator meets with the Social Worker and then the family to identify key issues;
  • A Family Group meeting is convened at a venue chosen by the family;
  • Social Workers are expected to be present for the duration of the Family Group Meeting process;
  • At the meeting all those involved with the family are invited to contribute information;
  • The family is then required to agree a plan, which meets the needs of the children;
  • The monitoring and review of the plan is undertaken by Social Worker and Co-ordinator, as appropriate.


4. Standards

  1. It is expected that the duration between referral and Family Group Meeting will be no longer than six weeks. Consideration will be given in exceptional circumstances, which may require a more urgent response;
    • Individual Children’s plans will be successfully progressed with positive impact still evident after six months;
    • Pre and Post Service evaluations will be completed by Service Users giving an indication of the quality of the service and outcomes for individual families.
  2. Family Group Meetings will be convened:
    • Before a child is Accommodated;
    • Prior to instigating care proceedings; or
    • Where a Child Protection Conference is likely to be called.

      unless there is a sound reason, agreed by the Service Manager, why this procedure should not be followed.
  3. In the rare event of emergency accommodation being arranged a Family Group Meeting should be convened as soon as possible with a view to the child returning home within 6 weeks from the date upon which accommodation started.

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