Source: (2006) Journal of Social Issues. 62(2):259-279.

Child welfare systems in the United States are failing to include families in making plans, and this reduces their success in stabilizing children’s placements and promoting children’s well-being. A North Carolina study demonstrates how one restorative practice—family group conferencing (FGC)—advances family participation in child welfare planning. A sample of 27 conferences showed that the 221 family group members outnumbered the 115 service providers at the meetings. Family group members were usually satisfied with the conference process and decision and saw the plans as primarily reached through consensus, following a trusted leader, and bargaining. Satisfaction with the decision was reduced when bargaining was employed. Manipulation was more likely to occur when conference preparations were inadequate.(author's abstract)