Family Group Conference Service

What is a Family Group Conference (FGC)?

Every family is unique and all families experience problems from time to time. We believe that children, young people and families know themselves best. A Family Group Conference is a meeting of family members, relatives and friends who work together to find out what issues their children may be having and to talk about how to sort out any problems.

Who is the Family Group Conference Coordinator?

  • The coordinator is an independent person whose job is to organise and coordinate the meeting.
  • The coordinator will visit the child/ young person and agree with them and their family who will be invited to the meeting.
  • The coordinator will give the family all the information the need about the FGC and reasons for it.
  • The coordinator can arrange for any additional support if needed, for example an interpreter or advocate.

Who attends a Family Group Conference?

  • The child or young person is invited to come along to all or part of the meeting, but it is their choice. If they prefer they could have what is called an ‘advocate’ who supports them to have their voice heard.
  • Anyone who cares about the child/ young person can be invited: close family; other relatives, including those at a distance; and family friends.
  • The agency who referred you to the FGC Service.
  • Any other agencies working with the family that they wish to invite (and who can give information to support the family in finding solutions).

Where is the meeting held?

  • Family Group Conferences take place outside the family home at a time and place to suit everyone attending.


What happens at a Family Group Conference?

There are four stages to a Family Group Conference:

1. Information Sharing

• Your coordinator will chair this part of the meeting and welcome everyone.

• The referrer and any other agencies invited will share information.

• Your coordinator will ensure that everyone has an opportunity to discuss the difficulties that they may be having and are clear about the decisions that need to be made.

2. Private Family Time

• Your coordinator and the agencies will leave the room.

• Your job as a family group is to decide the best way forward for your child/ young person.

• You will agree a plan, decide who does what and decide how you can check that the plan is working successfully.

• Your coordinator will be available if you need more information, help or refreshments.

3. Clarifying the Plan

• Your coordinator can help the family make sure that all the questions are covered, the plan is written down and that everyone agrees to their part in the plan.

4. Agreeing the Plan

• The referrer rejoins the meeting to hear the plan.

• Your family can discuss what support you think you need from the agencies to make the plan work.

• Your plan will be accepted provided it is safe for the child/ young person and you have addressed the agencies’ concerns.

• Usually a date will be agreed for a Review FGC.

What happens next?

  • The coordinator will make sure that everyone invited gets a copy of the plan.
  • For the plan to work, everyone involved needs to do their part.
  • The coordinator will organise a Review FGC to discuss progress since the first FGC and to make any changes needed to the plan.

Frequently Asked Questions on FGCs

1. How long will my FGC go on for?

As long as you and your family need to talk and work out a plan. Usually between three and four hours.

2. What if someone starts shouting?

Your Coordinator will be nearby throughout the meeting to help with someone who gets angry or upset. They might suggest that you all take a break for a while or they could stop the meeting altogether

3. Who has to be there?

The important people in your life. Your family, friends of your family and the workers who currently see you or might be helpful to you in the future.

4. Why are we having a FGC?

For you and your family to hear what your social worker or school is worried about how you are doing and then to plan for a better future for you.

5. Will there be something to do?

Yes. Your Coordinator will bring along some toys/games/artwork for you, or you can bring along something yourself.



A guide for children and young people

A guide for children and young people (plain text)

A guide for family and friends

A guide for family and friends (plain text)

A guide for referrers and service providers

A guide for referrers and service providers (plain text)


Guidance documents

Family Group Conference - Trust the Process

Family Group Conference - Trust the Process (plain text)

Family Group Conference - Practice standards

Family Group Conference - Practice standards (plain text)



Annual Report 2022-23

Annual Report 2022-23 (plain text)