Family Group Decision Making

Have you ever been confused when you heard adults talking about a family group conference or family group decision making?

Maybe you heard your caseworker asking your mom or dad if they would like to have a family group decision making meeting. Maybe your caseworker was explaining to your foster parent that there would be a family group conference, and you were wondering what it was and if you needed to do anything.

Family group decision making is a big term that explains a really simple thing. Sometimes, families need help taking care of their children or with other problems. Who helps them depends on lots of things. A big agency with lots of workers can help them. Or people they know can help them. When a big agency helps, decisions and plans are made by the agency workers for your mom or dad. When family group decision making happens, the family comes together to create the plan for the agency. This is called a family plan.

Mother with son and daughter.
Family Group Decision Making brings all of the people that care about your family together to help make your home a better place to be.

So, how does it happen? First, some special people who work with families will talk to your mom and dad and all the other people in your family. They will even want to talk to you. Then they will invite all the people who love and care about you to a meeting, called a family group conference. During this conference, your family will share a meal together and talk about things that worry them and about the problems you and your family have. Everyone will have a chance to talk about the good things in your family and how to make things even better. They will write everything down, and people in your family will volunteer to do things to help your family. Once everyone has gotten their chance, all of this gets written down in a plan. Then your family will let your caseworker know what they are going to do to make your home better and show him or her the plan.

You have a big job. You need to be honest. You need to let your family know how you feel about the plan. Also, if the plan isn’t working, you need to let your family know that, too, so that they can meet again and fix the plan. It’s nice to have those people to share the problems with, isn’t it?