When Family Group Conferences (FGCs) were implemented in New Zealand 25 years ago, this approach to helping vulnerable children and young people, as well as victims of young offending, was unprecedented. A lot has changed in New Zealand since their introduction in 1989. Societal and cultural shifts, technological changes, and the increasing complexity of problems that some families now face, means we have to adapt our FGC process to meet today’s needs.
The Office of the Chief Social Worker undertook a review on FGCs in 2012. The review identified overwhelming support of FGCs as a key decision making process for children, young people and their families.
It also highlighted the need to better prepare participants for upcoming FGCs, the importance of inter-agency work, adapting our FGCs to better meet the needs of participants, and greater partnership between social workers and Māori families.