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North Carolina Family Group Conferencing Project


Mission (Pennell, Macgowan, Waites, & Weil, 1998)

To use Family Group Conferencing in order to develop partnerships among families, neighbors, community members and leaders, and public agencies that protect, nurture, and safeguard children and other family members by building on the strengths of the family and their community.

Key Principles and Practices of Family Group Conferencing (Pennell, 1999)

FGC Principles FGC Practices
Build broad-based support and cultural competence By including a wide-range of community organizations and public agencies in planning, guiding, resourcing, and evaluating the program.
By each partner retaining own distinctive role and responsibilities.
Enable the coordinators to work with family groups in organizing their conferences By selecting coordinators who are respectful of families and their communities,
By making conference organizing the coordinator's primary role in relationship to the family, and
By providing the coordinator with cultural and practice consultation.
Have the conference belong to the family group By giving reasons for holding the conference that the family group and service providers can understand and agree with,
By holding the conference in a place and in a way that fits the family's culture, and
By inviting more family group members than service providers.
Foster understanding of the family and creativity in planning By inviting different sides of the family, and
By broadly defining what is "family."
Help the conference participants take part safely and effectively By preparing family group and service providers,
By building in supports and protections, and
By arranging transportation, child care, interpretation, etc. as needed.
Tap into the strengths of the family group in making a plan By asking information providers to share concerns, knowledge, and resources but not to dictate the solutions, and 
By ensuring that the family group have their private time to come up with their plan.
Promote carrying out the plan By providing timely approvals of plans with regards to safety and resourcing,
By integrating supports and resources of family group, community organizations, and public agencies,
By building in monitoring and evaluation of plans and follow-up meetings.
Fulfill the purpose of the plan By implementing the plans as agreed or revising them together as needed, and
By supporting the efforts of the family group and service providers.
Change policies, procedures, and resources to sustain partnerships among family groups, community organizations, and public agencies By developing and using integrative and culturally competent approaches, and
By using program evaluation as a means of changing practice and policy.

Permission is granted to reproduce and use the above "Key Principles and Practices of Family Group Conferencing" as long as their authorship is acknowledged as follows:

Pennell, J., with the assistance of J. Hardison and E. Yerkes. (1999). North Carolina Family Group Conferencing Project: Building partnerships with and around families: Report to the North Carolina Division of Social Services, Fiscal year 1998-1999. Raleigh, NC: North Carolina State University, Social Work Program, North Carolina Family Group Conferencing Project.