Source: (1996) In: J. Hudson, et al. (eds.), Family Group Conferences: Perspectives on Policy and Practice. Monsey, NY: Criminal Justice Press, pp. 17-36.Our behavior within families and as families is integrated into our overall strategy for survival as a species. Families through antiquity were and are decision-making bodies. Until 1989 New Zealand, like other countries relied on courts, the police and child protection service to make decisions for families in trouble. Now responsibility belongs to the families, with professional assistance, to make critical placement and protection decisions. This paper discusses the factors contributing to, and the process of the Children, Young Persons and Their Families Act 1989. The purposes and outcomes of family group conferences are described.