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September 2003Vol. 4, No. 7Positive Results for Family Group Decision Making

A relatively new approach in child welfare, family group decision making (FGDM) seeks to give family members, rather than professionals, a leading voice in determining how best to ensure a child's safety and protection from future maltreatment. A recent special volume of Protecting Children provides findings from more than 20 research and evaluation studies showing, in general, FGDM has a positive impact on families, children, and communities.

Some of the findings presented in this volume include:

  • Children whose families participate in FGDM spend less time awaiting permanency.
  • Children participating in FGDM have more stable placements compared to those going through traditional child welfare processes.
  • FGDM increases the involvement of fathers and paternal relatives.
  • Families often report greater communication and unity as a result of FGDM.
  • Families and professionals are highly satisfied with the process.

Despite these positive results, studies also show very few families currently participate in FGDM, and even fewer have been involved in building and sustaining FGDM processes in their communities.

For a complete copy of the introductory article to this volume, as well as information on many other aspects of FGDM, go to the American Humane Association's National Center on Family Group Decision Making at

Related Items

Read more about FGDM in previous issues of Children's Bureau Express:

  • "New Video, Parent's Choices, Highlights Impact of Parental Decision-Making" (Aug/Sept 2002)
  • "Families as Decision Makers in Child Abuse and Neglect Cases" (Jan/Feb 2001)