• high levels of satisfaction among family members and professionals with the way conferences had been run, particularly with the way in which Facilitators managed and overcame challenging communication barriers and safety concerns;
  • evidence that in some matters, the conference had resulted in a more positive working relationship between Community Services and the family, particularly the extended family;
  • the majority of matters that proceeded to conference during the evaluation period resulted in the development of a Family Plan (90%; n=26), none of which were rejected by Community Services;
  • high levels of satisfaction with the content of Family Plans developed at conferences, including a large proportion of respondents to the online survey reporting that the plans addressed the bottom lines identified by Community Services (94%; n=17), had realistic goals and a clear course of action (100%; n=18), and reflected the best interests of the children (89%; n=16);
  • evidence that, among the small number of Family Plans for which information was available (n=9), all but one had resulted in more than 50 percent of the identified actions being implemented by the time of review and no Family Plan was assessed as having failed to achieve any of the identified goals.

The evaluation was unable to draw strong conclusions about the impact of the FGC pilot program on the likelihood that a child or young person would be the subject of a report to Community Services, the likelihood that an application to initiate care proceedings would be made to the Children’s Court, the placement outcomes for children and young people or the frequency and reliability of contact arrangements. This was primarily because of limitations associated with the scale of the program and timeframe for the evaluation, including the low number of program referrals and short follow-up periods.

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