Source: (2004) American Humane FGDM Issues in Brief. Downloaded 1 December 2005.

Family group conferencing (FGC) is first and foremost about engaging families in decision making. Working with extended families is widely considered to be best practice in child welfare. But because the infrastructure of the formal child welfare system is so deeply oriented toward the nuclear family and non-relative foster care, it can be challenging for practitioners to engage and partner with kin. As a result, many social workers tend to shy away from FGC because of the complications and challenges inherent in working with kin. The challenges to working with kin are widespread: State social work and legal systems typically focus on the nuclear duo of mom and dad, and oftentimes just mom; Confidentiality statutes create a thicket of barriers to communication; Forms do not ask for the names of extended family members, and invitations to case staffings seldom reach out to extended family members; Some social workers believe that the “apple doesn’t fall far from the tree"; Parents often refuse to disclose the names of their relatives. (excerpt)

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