Articles & Reports

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Family Group Conferencing in the Netherlands

In the Netherlands, family group conferencing is known as eigen kracht, which translates to “own strengths” or “own capabilities.” Eigen kracht conferences employ everyday citizens -- not child welfare professionals -- as independent conference coordinators.

Families Perspectives

One Family’s Story: How FGDM Reunited Carl, Gina, and Gino

The International Institute on Restorative Practices presents a compelling story about how FGDM was the catalyst to creating child and family safety and well-being for one family. Laura Mirsky follows the Lee Family through their experiences with Child Protective Services that lasted 10 years. It was not until the director for Family Group Decision Making of Los Angeles County contacted the Lee’s about trying a new program that the family would be reunited.

View the article at:

Mr. Carl Lee is one of the individuals on the Family Voices documentary, jointly created by the American Humane Association and the International Institute for Restorative Practices.



Children & Young People

Promoting the Participation Rights of Children and Young People in Family Group Conferences 

by Hilary Horan and Jane Dalrymple

Family Group Conferences are being used in a range of decision-making forums around the world. They operate with an empowering methodology that enables families to partner in the decision-making process. However, safely and effectively involving children and young people in the meeting process continues to be an area of challenge for many communities. Horan and Dalrymple share the work of Barnardo’s Family Group Conference Project in Wiltshire, England, and their use of independent advocates to promote the participatory practice of children and young people in the family group conference process.

Seen but Not Heard? Children and Young People's Participation in Family Group Decision Making: Concepts and Practice Issues

by Paul Nixon

Research & Evaluation

Family Team Meeting (FTM): Process, Outcome, and Impact Evaluation (2005)

This report presents the initial work of the External Evaluation Team for the Family Team Meeting (FTM) Program at the District of Columbia Child and Family Services Agency (CFSA). The outcomes and progress of the process evaluation, the impact evaluation and the fiscal impact statement form the content of this report. This external evaluation addresses requirements of the District of Columbia’s Child in Need of Protection Act of 2004 for an “independent process and impact evaluation” of FTMs and the extension to 72 hours for holding the court proceedings regarding the removal of a child.

Protecting Children Journals 

Download the Protecting Children introductory article Learning with Families: A Synopsis of FGDM Research and Evaluation in Child Welfare which summarizes key messages, themes, and findings from the more than 25 FGDM research and evaluative studies contained in this special publication.

A Survey of International Practices, Policy & Research on Family Group Conferencing and Related Practices

by Paul Nixon and Gale Burford with Andrew Quinn and Josh Edelbaum.

The idea for this study came from a recommendation made from the floor at an American Humane Association's Conference on Family Group Decision Making. It was suggested that a survey be done of programs internationally to ascertain who is doing what and with what results. Carried out in early 2004, the online survey has 225 responses from 16 countries that have programs for family group decision making and related practices.

Family Group Decision Making: New Roles for 'Old' Partners in Resolving Family Violence (1995)

Volume 1 of the Implementation Report from the Newfoundland/Labrador FGDM project.

Family Violence

Safeguarding Everyone in the Family: Family Group Conferences and Family Violence (PDF)

by Joan Pennell, from the September 2007 issue of Social Work Now.

Family Group Conferencing (FGC) is one of the best tools today to fight institutional racism, but the use of FGC in situations with family violence still creates legitimate fears among many talented coordinators. Joan Pennell addresses safety concerns in her article from Social Work Now, while focusing on the benefits to families and the larger system of taking on cases involving family violence. As many would agree, Pennell states that preparation is the key to safety and a successful family group conference, under any circumstance.


Families Gaining Their Seat at the Table

American Humane is pleased to announce the release of a new paper that reviews family engagement strategies documented in the Child and Family Services Reviews (CFSRs) and state Program Improvement Plans (PIPs). American Humane commissioned Sara Munson and Madelyn Freundlich to write this report, which highlights various types of family meetings that states are pursuing to improve family and child involvement in case planning.

Download the report.

2006 International Conference on Family Group Conference

The 2006 International Conference on Family Group Conference was held in Wellington, New Zealand -- November 27-29, 2006. This conference was hosted by New Zealand's Department of Child, Youth and Family Services in conjunction with the Family Group Conference network.

Presentations and speeches from the conference:

American Humane's National Center on FGDM

Is your community thinking about implementing family group decision making? Contact:
Lisa Merkel-Holguin
Director, National Center on FGDM 

Manual for Coordinators and Communities: The Organization and Practice of Family Group Decision Making

©August 1995, Gale Burford, Joan Pennell and Susan MacLeod

Restorative Practice and Family Empowerment: Both/And or Either/Or?

A Compilation of State and Provincial Laws, Policies, Rules and Regulations on Family Group Decision Making and Other Family Engagement Approaches in Child Welfare Decision Making American Humane

Duty Calls: The Response of Law, Policy and Practice to Participation Right in Child Welfare Systems Involving Children in FGDM by Mike Doolan


Additional Resources

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