Source: (1999) British Journal of Social Work. 29: 621-630.This article is a response to Lupton (1998). It is not a traditional critical response, but rather a complementary and extended exploration of the issues raised in the earlier paper. It draws on the authors' respective experiences as innovator and researcher in the field of child welfare initiatives and from the recently completed study into the use of family group conferences in youth justice. It concludes that some of the key tenets of family group conferences are in danger of being neglected by professional and political agendas id urgent attention is not given to the purpose of family empowerment and to adequate resourcing of FGC plans. Author's abstract.