Source: (2009) Family Court Review. 47(1):129-147.

This Note advocates for state laws to be amended to implement family group conferencing (FGC) as the first step in cases of alleged child neglect. FGC was developed in New Zealand nearly twenty years ago and have since become a realistic method of balancing the best interests of the children, families, agencies, courts, and communities involved in the child welfare system. A FGC is a meeting among family members and professionals that is conducted in order to develop a plan for a child who is the victim of neglect. FGC places the family at the center of the welfare proceedings and empowers them to reach a solution without having to resort to the often lengthy and expensive adversarial court system. If FGC is incorporated into the child welfare systems throughout the United States, communication between the parents, social services, and the courts could increase, helping families adequately address the problem of neglect and getting the children out of the child welfare system quickly and more efficiently.