No Place Like Home is a 3-year project of national significance funded by a Family Connections grant from the Children's Bureau of the Administration for Children and Families, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, running from October 2011 through September 2014. This project strategically combines the assets of American Humane Association, Casey Family Programs, and three innovative child welfare agencies with mature family group decision making (FGDM) programs to test the effectiveness of FGDM in safely preventing children from entering or reentering foster care when they are receiving in-home services. The project sites — Larimer County Department of Human Services, Colorado; South Dakota Department of Social Services; and Texas Department of Family and Protective Services — have more than two decades of collective experience in delivering FGDM to children and families who come to the attention of child welfare.
No Place Like Home will address existing knowledge gaps in FGDM research around children and families receiving in-home services through a comprehensive evaluation design of FGDM implementation, processes, and outcomes (all tied to costs). Key features of the outcome evaluation are a random control trial in Texas, an intent-to-treat design with randomly assigned controls in South Dakota, and a propensity score matching design for Larimer County, Colo. In other words, all three sites will feature rigorous longitudinal and experimental or quasi-experimental designs addressing FGDM process, outcomes, and cost-effectiveness. In addition, given the overrepresentation of Latinos, African Americans, and American Indians that exists in this project's targeted geographic areas, this project can provide guidance and evidence about the effectiveness of FGDM in supporting culturally diverse populations.
Additional features of the No Place Like Home project include individualized advanced training, technical assistance, and coaching of the sites' staff and community; peer networking; and a highly tactical and extensive dissemination component that will reach thousands. At the conclusion of the project, groundbreaking knowledge will be gleaned and shared so that it can be used to improve child welfare practices and policies at local, state, and national levels.
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In 2006 – 2008, Family Group Conferencing was introduced to the governmental childcare structure in Sri Lanka Tsunami response in the Southern Province. As stated in the manual, “The simplicity of the approach and the compatibility of the core concepts of the approach with the culture and context of Sri Lanka made FGC a widely used practice in the Southern Province where it was piloted.” Nayomi Kannangara, Child Protection Specialist, compiled this manual with Save the Children.
The Sparrow Lake Alliance Children in Limbo Task Force created this inclusive document from 14 contributors to tackle many issues related to child welfare, all with the idea of "putting the child first".
Community Service Foundation & Buxmont Academy (CSF Buxmont), help youth in eastern Pennsylvania with education, counseling and residential services. Restorative Conferencing and Family Group Decision Making (FGDM) are two effective strategies offered by CSF Buxmont for engaging young people and their families in taking responsibility for their actions, making changes and solving problems. These meetings are community-based and focus on repairing harm and preserving family unity and social connectedness.
From July 1, 2009 to October 31, 2010, CSF held 79 FGDM conferences, attended by 602 total participants, an average of 7.62 participants per conference. Utilizing (Pennsylvania’s) state-sanctioned FGDM survey, CSF queried participants just after the conferences ended.This newly published report is intended to provide feedback on the development of FGDM conferences facilitated by Community Service Foundation (CSF).
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.
A new law in the Netherlands gives citizens "the right to make a plan first" in its Child Protection act. The amendment is intended to provide parents family members and people who are otherwise involved with the possibility to construe a plan before or during the supervision order. The amendment states, "In many cases, citizens are very well capable of taking responsibility for problems, within their own family or their circle of friends. Moreover, social cohesion contributes to the well-being of children." Read the full amendment, translated into English. (PDF)
This issue of Protecting Children is dedicated to family group decision making and other family meeting practices in the field of child welfare. Articles provide findings and case studies on successful family meeting practices, including child and family teams, child protection mediation, team decision-making meetings and permanency teams.
Download this article from Protecting Children (Vol. 24, No. 4, 2009): Responding Restoratively to Vulnerable Victims, Youths, and Families.
This entire issue of Protecting Children explores the growing field of restorative justice. Articles provide research findings and case studies documenting how restorative justice is being implemented and the promising results it has yielded for victims, youths, families and communities.
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In the Netherlands, family group conferencing (FGC) is known as eigen kracht, which translates to “own strengths” or “own capabilities.” One unique aspect of eigen kracht conferences is that they employ everyday citizens—not child welfare professionals—as independent conference coordinators. According to Eigen Kracht Centrale Director Rob van Pagée, this aspect helps to foster citizenship and collective community benefits.
Restorative justice and FGDM processes offer a humane way to address youth offending with accountability and care for all youths, including those who have experienced maltreatment. These processes position youths, families, victims, system professionals and other community stakeholders to create plans that protect the youths, address the core issues that precipitated the offense and hold the youths accountable for their behaviors.