Q: I have been referred to have an FGC, what happens next?
A: An experienced FGC co-ordinator will contact you to arrange a time to come and visit you. They will explain in detail the process and stages of the meeting and answer any concerns and questions you may have. Meeting with the FGC coordinator does not commit you to going ahead it will be your choice.
Q: I have been invited to attend an FGC , what do i have to do?
A: You have been identified as being important to the parent/s and child/ren. They have given us details of people in their support network who they trust and would like to be involved in a meeting that will help make plans to keep people safe and well supported. If you are able to attend the meeting your role, along with other family members and friends, is to consider the concerns raised by Children's Services and make a plan to address these issues.
Q: Who should I invite?
A: You should invite any friends and family who are important to you and your family. You should also invite any service provider or group that are currently offering you some support.
Q: I have been referred for an FGC, but don't have contact with my family?
A: Not all families have contact with their family members for a whole range of reasons. The co-ordinator can help you think about who else could be in your support network - this could be good friends, neighbours, other community members, it does not have to be a blood relative, just people who care and you trust.
Q: Why does the Social Worker have to be there, we don't really get on?
A: The Social Worker has made the referral to Daybreak FGC. It is the social workers job to share the Local Authorities concerns as well as details of support they can offer with you and your family. They will also be able to answer any questions you may have.
Q: Is it just family who can attend or can friends come along too?
A: Good friends, neighbours, other community members can attend the FGC meeting, it does not have to be a blood relatives, just people who care and you trust.
Q: Who will be there?
A: The people who attend the meeting will all be known to you. It will be your Social Worker, other service providers as well as your family and friends.
Q: What will happen if I don't do it?
A: If you decide that a family group conference is not the right thing for you and your family the coordinator will inform the Social Worker of your decision. The coordinator will then send you a closing letter and remind you that should you change your mind at any point in the future, you can contact your Social Worker and ask them to make a new referral.
Q: How long will it last?
A: All meetings vary so it is difficult to know how long it will last. However the average time for a family group conference is 2-3 hours. You will be able to take a break at any time during the meeting and refreshments will be available.
Q: What will happen if people don't want to come?
A: The coordinator will work hard at making it possible for people to attend by addressing their concerns and dealing with any problems. if people still don't want to attend the coordinator will discuss it with you and with the Social Worker and together you can make a decision about whether to go ahead with the meeting.
Q: Where will it be?
A: The meeting will be held in a neutral venue such as a community center, church hall or another community facility of your choice. The coordinator will discuss the venue with you and if you agree they will book the hall.
Q: Can we meet at my house?
A: We will only hold a meeting at someone’s house in very exceptional circumstances. We find that a neutral venue works best for all participants
Q: There is an injunction, can s/he still be there?
A: If there is an injunction the person can only attend if the victim agrees. The court/police will then need to agree a variation of the order so that they can attend. However this is rare so in most cases we would hold 2 separate meetings or seek an advocate to represent the perpetrator.
Q: What happens if we don't get on?
A: Your coordinator will meet with everyone individually or at least speak to them if this is not possible. They will discuss what is expected from each other to ensure the family meeting goes well. There will be ground rules set at the start in order to remind everyone that the true focus of the meeting is to benefit the children. People will be asked and expected to leave if ground rules are broken.
Q: I want to be there but I can't because of work, how can I tell the family what I think?
A: Please do discuss this with you coordinator as they may be able to come up with options that may allow you to attend. There will also be options to discuss that will ensure you are involved and kept updated if you absolutely cannot attend.
Q: I want the children to come, but what happens if people start arguing?
A: The coordinator will support and discuss through this concern with you along with your Social worker but efforts will be put in place to ensure the children are able to safely step out with a support person as and when needed. It could also be arrange that the children only attend as section of the meeting such as the lunch and private family time.
Q: Do the children have to attend?
A: It is important to get the 'child's voice' but if for any reason they can't attend then the coordinator will explore other ways to get their 'voice heard' for example through an advocate.