Source: (-0001) Englewood, Colorado: National Center on Family Group Decision Making, American Humane. Downloaded 1 December 2005.

Family group decision making (FGDM) offers a new approach to working with families involved with the child welfare system. Families are engaged and empowered by child welfare agencies to make decisions and develop plans that protect and nurture their children from enduring further abuse and neglect. The FGDM process inherently fosters cooperation, collaboration, and communication between professionals and families. FGDM is primarily being used by child welfare agencies when children have been substantiated as maltreated. This practice, while not as commonplace, is also being used in juvenile justice and TANF cases. The emerging trend in many U.S. communities is to incorporate elements of the family unity model into the family group conferencing approach. A unique aspect of the Family Unity model is the structured time during the information sharing stage of the family meeting for a facilitated discussion of family strengths and concerns. The differentiating element of the Family Group Conference is the provision of private time whereby only family consider the information presented, deliberate, and make decisions that are then presented back to the professionals and other Conference attendees for discussion and approval. When communities blend these elements, a typical term for this FGDM approach is family decision meetings. (excerpt)