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Hertfordshire County Council


What is a family group conference?

A family group conference is a meeting for a child or young person, their family and their friends. It's a safe space where everyone can talk through concerns that have been raised, then come up with a plan to make things better.

How can it help?

We believe that families know themselves best. The meeting brings them together so they can:

  • talk through their issues and understand what's happening in each other's lives
  • think about what support they need
  • make a plan to resolve concerns and improve the safety of their children.


Who can have a family group conference?

We offer conferences to families of:

  • babies and unborn babies
  • children up to 18 years old
  • young people with a learning disability, up to 25 years old.

You can't self-refer to the service. If you think it could help, please ask your social worker or another professional.


Who will be at the meeting?

  • The child or young person (if they want to come).
  • Their parents or carers.
  • Anyone else they want to invite who can provide support, such as trusted friends, relatives or neighbours.
  • The family's social worker.
  • One of our coordinators. They're independent from Children's Services and don't make decisions about a young person's future.
  • A translator or sign language interpreter, if needed.


What will happen?

The process usually takes 6-8 weeks.

Before the meeting

  1. A professional will make a referral to us, if the family is happy to participate.
  2. One of our coordinators will meet the parents or carers to explain why the meeting is happening, how it will work and what questions we'll ask.
  3. Our coordinator will also ask the child or young person if they want to come to the meeting and if there's anything specific they want to be discussed.
  4. The family can decide when and where they'd like to meet and who they want to invite. Our coordinator will arrange it and meet with all attendees beforehand.

At the meeting

1. Information sharing - Everyone will introduce themselves. The social worker will explain the concerns and what needs to change, then answer any questions the family has.

2. Private family time - The coordinator and social worker will give the family questions to discuss, then leave the room. Families can take breaks, ask for help and take as long as they need.

3. Agreeing the plan - When the family is happy with their answers, the coordinator and social worker will come back in. They'll go through the plan and agree any actions.

After the meeting

  • Everyone will be sent a copy of the plan, which they should follow after the meeting.
  • The social worker and a nominated family member will check that the plan is working.


Find out more

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