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Family conferences may not be effective enough in stopping children going into care.

A new study suggests that Family Group Conferences may not be ‘run consistently well’ enough to prevent children entering care.

The What Works for Children Social Care research reviewed 33 studies focusing on quantitative evaluation of shared decision-making meetings compared to control group services, which were usually termed “care as usual”. Only 17 of these found a favourable result for the shared decision-making meetings compared to control group services for at least one outcome.

The report concludes “Family participation in decisions about children should be upheld as a fundamental principle within the child welfare system, but the results of this review suggest that more work is needed to improve the quality consistency of the services that are designed to achieve this. It may be that these meetings are not being run consistently well or they are not often enough part of a wider cultural change in children’s services towards prioritising family participation.”

Read the full report here.