Source: (2002) Restorative Practices E-Forum. September 10.

This article presents the findings of a retrospective study of 70 family group conferences (FCG) conducted in Washington State. These 70 FCGs addressed the well-being of 138 children. The families within the evaluation were primarily referred by foster care units rather than investigative units and involved cases that had been in the child welfare system for over 90 days. Families were invited to participate in the decision-making process, engaging both the material and paternal sides of the family with greater success than standard case planning appraches. Children who had a conference expereinced high rates of reunification or kinship placement and lor rates of re-referral to CPS. These findings generally remained stable as long as two years post-conference. This study, the largest long-term follow-up study of FGC published to date, suggests that FGCs can be an effective planning apprach for families involved with the public child welfare agency, resulting in safe, permanent plans for children at risk.


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