Source: (2002) Paper presented at "Dreaming of a New Reality," the Third International Conference on Conferencing, Circles and other Restorative Practices, August 8-10, 2002, Minneapolis, Minnesota.

Family Group Conferencing has been a community-building process from its start in Hennepin County in 1999, when a pilot project by the Minnesota Supreme Court with cooperation from the Juvenile Judicial Court and Children and Family Services Department joined together to explore the use of FGC with child protection families. Now a program under CFSD, we are exploring the use of FGC within our department’s community in such areas as long-term foster care, school truancy and homeless families, in addition to families referred to child protection services. Hennepin County is also engaged in the Minnesota Time Limited Reunification Services Grant. Through this grant project, community agencies representing the diverse cultures of our area, join in utilizing FGC as trained coordinators and co-facilitators to make the conferences family focused and culturally sensitive. Our presentation will share the learnings from the implementation of the pilot project, the ongoing exploration of the current program’s efforts to build a network and awareness of FGC in our communities, and share the results of our evaluation to date.