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Reimagining child welfare outcomes: Learning from Family Group Conferencing

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Original languageEnglish
Article numberCFS12676
JournalChild & Family Social Work
Early online date26 Jul 2019
DOIs
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 26 Jul 2019

Abstract

This article reports on a qualitative study, which sought to retrospectively understand the contribution Family Group Conferencing (FGC) makes to longer-term outcomes for children at risk of entering State care, and their families. Eleven case examples of FGC were studied from five local government areas across Scotland. Each example included the perspectives of different stakeholders in the process: children, their parents/carers and extended family (n=32), and professionals (n=28) involved with them. The study found a number of interconnecting issues in relation to FGC outcome contribution. Firstly, the personal experience of process matters to the service user and his/her opinion of the outcomes they achieve. Secondly, what professionals do and how they do it can impact the outcomes of people requiring support. Thus, the relationship between professionals and services users is central to understanding why and how families achieve longer term outcomes. Finally, who defines outcomes and to what purpose is significant when understanding outcomes. This article reports on two sets of FGC outcomes identified within the study: personal and professional. Arguing for a more nuanced understanding of outcomes in child welfare this article begins to explore, and challenge, the manner in which outcomes are identified and valued in child welfare.

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