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Family Group Conferencing: Building Partnerships with Kin in Washington State.

Gunderson, Karin
June 4, 2015

Source: (2004) American Humane FGDM Issues in Brief. Downloaded 1 December 2005.

Family group conferencing (FGC) is first and
foremost about engaging families in decision making.
Working with extended families is widely considered
to be best practice in child welfare. But because the
infrastructure of the formal child welfare system is so
deeply oriented toward the nuclear family and
non-relative foster care, it can be challenging for
practitioners to engage and partner with kin. As a
result, many social workers tend to shy away from
FGC because of the complications and challenges
inherent in working with kin. The challenges to
working with kin are widespread: State social work and legal systems typically focus on the nuclear duo of mom and dad, and oftentimes just mom; Confidentiality statutes create a thicket of barriers to communication; Forms do not ask for the names of extended family
members, and invitations to case staffings seldom
reach out to extended family members; Some social workers believe that the “apple doesn’t
fall far from the tree”; Parents often refuse to disclose the names of their relatives. (excerpt)


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