Source: (2002) Paper presented at "Dreaming of a New Reality," the Third International Conference on Conferencing, Circles and other Restorative Practices, August 8-10, 2002, Minneapolis, Minnesota.

San Diego County in California is a large county, with three million residents of great diversity. San Diego County child protection workers investigate thousands of child abuse allegations each month, and there are thousands of children in foster care or group home settings. Child protection workers are now being asked to place more emphasis on reuniting children with parents or familial caregivers, despite the fact that many workers are deeply skeptical of such attempts because they have often seen problems of abuse reoccur when children are returned to their homes. In this context, Quinnett and Harrison describe a new approach to working with families that involves a Family Unity Meeting process. The authors identify key elements in the Family Unity Meeting model used in San Diego County, including training and meeting preparation, the basic process of a meeting, and post-meeting actions.

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