Mainstream or margin? The current use of family group conferences in child welfare practice in the UK

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Abstract

A decade has passed since family group conferences were initially introduced into the UK by Family Rights Group. Ten years on, this paper examines the extent to which family group conferences have developed and become embedded into current social work practice. Despite the initial interest by social work practitioners and the picture often painted of a growing radical movement, the degree to which family group conferencing has become part of mainstream practice has until now remained fairly anecdotal. A number of difficulties have been identified with implementing the model, including fitting it into an existing system and the challenge it poses to professionals to hand over power. Two surveys, the first undertaken in 1999 and the second in 2001, describe the current use of the model in the UK by Councils with Social Services Responsibilities (Councils). The surveys reveal the areas of practice within which family group conferences are being used, the size and capacity of projects and why some Councils have adopted the model whilst others remain hesitant. It concludes by considering why family group conferences remain on the margins of practice.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)331-340
Number of pages10
JournalChild and Family Social Work
Volume8
Issue number4
Early online date6 Oct 2003
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 1 Nov 2003

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