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April 2006Vol. 7, No. 3Family Group Conferencing

Family Group Conferencing (FGC) safeguards children by broadening the group of people who are committed to their safety. A new book, Widening the Circle: The Practice and Evaluation of Family Group Conferencing with Children, Youths, and Their Families, shows how FGC can empower the family group to develop and implement a plan for safeguarding children and other family members, with the support of the child welfare agency and other community organizations.

The book offers direction to child welfare workers on how to work with family groups and their service providers. The four sections address different aspects of FGC:

  • Setting up and carrying out the conference
  • Initiating and sustaining an FGC program
  • Evaluating conferencing
  • FGC as an alternative to traditional child welfare methods

Widening the Circle was edited by J. Pennell and G. Anderson and published by the National Association of Social Workers (NASW). It is available through the NASW website: (Editor's note: Link no longer active)