Source: (1998) Ottawa, Ontario :Canada National Clearinghouse of Family Violence, Health and Welfare.

When there is abuse or neglect in families, one means by which family members can decide what to do is known as "Family Group Decision making." This approach allows plans to be made by the family, together with their relatives, friends, and other close supports. Together these planners compose the "family group." Their plans address the maltreatment of any family members, whether a child, adolescent, or adult. Planning is done at a family group conference, and mandated authorities -- such as child welfare, police, parole, or probation -- refer the family to a coordinator. The coordinator works with the family group to organize the conference so that everyone can participate safely and effectively. The mandated authorities approve the plan and the resources to implement it. This booklet discusses the rationale for using family group decision making and how it supplements other approaches for addressing domestic abuse and neglect. Topics discussed include who makes the referrals, what types of families should be referred, how the conference is organized, who should be invited, family members' anxiety about participating in the conference, and what can be done to ensure that the conference belongs to the family group. The booklet also details what happens at a conference and the results of family group decision making. Some practical issues discussed are cost and how to start and keep family conferences community based. Abstract courtesy of National Criminal Justice Reference Service, www.ncjrs.org.


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