Source: (2009) Family Court Review. 47(1):129-147.
This Note advocates for state laws to be amended to implement family group conferencing (FGC) as the first
step in cases of alleged child neglect. FGC was developed in New Zealand nearly twenty years ago and have
since become a realistic method of balancing the best interests of the children, families, agencies, courts, and
communities involved in the child welfare system. A FGC is a meeting among family members and professionals
that is conducted in order to develop a plan for a child who is the victim of neglect. FGC places the family at
the center of the welfare proceedings and empowers them to reach a solution without having to resort to the often
lengthy and expensive adversarial court system. If FGC is incorporated into the child welfare systems throughout
the United States, communication between the parents, social services, and the courts could increase, helping
families adequately address the problem of neglect and getting the children out of the child welfare system
quickly and more efficiently.
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