Source: (2004) Family Group Decision Making, New Zealand. American Humane website. Downloaded 8 December 2004.

The presentation outlines the growth of family-led decision-making practice in child welfare administrations over the last 15 years and locates the development within modern social policy objectives such as the right to participate, the right to social inclusion and the pursuit of practices that support independence and promote service effectiveness. The practice philosophy is described and key contrasts are drawn with professionally led decision-making constructs. Mainstreaming the approach is impeded by an uncertain mandate for the practice, compounded by worker concerns about safety and the difficult context within which statutory social work is practiced. The family group conference is a decision model at odds with the dominant professional and managerial paradigm and is thus a challenge to current power alliances in child welfare. The presentation traverses what might need to happen if the family group conference is to become the mainstream decision model in statutory child protection and care services. Author's abstract.

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