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September 2010Vol. 11, No. 7FGDM Guidelines From American Humane

American Humane Association and the Family Group Decision Making (FGDM) Guidelines Committee have released Guidelines for Family Group Decision Making in Child Welfare, a publication intended to increase understanding of FGDM and to encourage FGDM's integration throughout the child welfare system. FGDM refers to the practice of inviting family members of a child or youth involved in the child welfare system to participate fully in meetings and collaborate on case plans regarding a child's safety, permanency, and well-being. 

The new guidelines explain what FGDM is and the potential FGDM has to improve outcomes for children and families. The main topics of the guidelines include:

  • The FGDM coordinator
    • The role played in preparing for and guiding the family meeting
    • The relationship with child welfare practice improvements
    • Desired qualifications of the coordinator and the recruitment process
  • Referral to FGDM
    • Criteria for referral to FGDM
    • Role of the referring worker during the process
    • The types of information gathered for the referral
    • Timelines of referral and its acceptance
  • Preparation
    • Identifying family group members to invite
    • Properly preparing family group members and children
    • Preparing the referring worker and members of the child welfare team
    • Scheduling the meeting
  • Family meetings
    • Determining participants in meetings and maintaining balance between all attending
    • Steps taken in the actual family meeting
    • Implementing private family time during the meeting
  • Follow-up after family meetings
    • Writing and distribution of the plan
    • Monitoring and evaluating the plan progress
  • Administrative support
    • Training, education, and staff development
    • Organizational policies and functions

Visit American Humane's website to download the publication:
(1,039 KB)