New report underlines benefits of Family Group Conferencing
Foundations has published new research from the first randomised control trial of family group conferences (FGCs) in the UK showing that over 2,000 children per year could avoid going into care and instead safely remain with their families if FGCs are rolled out across England.
Cost-analysis in the research demonstrates that this would also save public money to the tune of £150 million within two years. The results from this study are said to provide the most robust evidence to date of the positive impact that FGCs at the pre-proceedings stage have for children and families in England.
FGC’s, family-led meetings in which the family and friends network come together to make a plan for the child have been established practice for some years, however, despite statutory guidance recommending the use of family group conferencing since 2014, too often FGCs are not provided or happen too late to divert children away from the care system, as highlighted in the Independent Review of Children’s Social Care. This can result in extra support being needed for the parents to continue safely raising their child or identifying relatives or friends who can step in as the child’s kinship carer.
A spokesperson from Foundations said “If we are to improve outcomes for vulnerable children through better interventions, programmes and services, we must act decisively when we have high-quality evidence of what works.
We should be using Family Group Conferences in more local areas. Now we know that Family Group Conferences are a cost-effective intervention which can keep children out of care, local authorities should introduce them at pre-proceedings stage, where they are not currently doing so.”
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Published on 3rd July 2023