28 years ago today, age 19: “My opinion stands that you should not complain about the level of discussion if you are not participating in it.”, -me, 9/24/1991, responding to a person complaining that our discussion group that I was running wasn’t talking about an issue that nobody else knew anything about. I wanted to know more about this particular New Zealand issue (Gay Maxwell about Family Group Conferences and a new law that involved restorative justice for juveniles or lack of, I don’t know) – but the member was complaining about our lack of interest which was due to lack of knowledge instead of contributing knowledge so we COULD discuss it. Very frustrating. This was before the www, before websites existed, and WAY long before Google and while internet WAS a lot easier than a public library, navigating wasn’t as easy as it is now. I’m still annoyed. And my opinion? Still stands at 47.

28 years ago today, age 19:
“My opinion stands that you should not complain about the level of discussion if you are not participating in it.”,
 
-me, 9/24/1991, responding to a person complaining that our discussion group that I was running wasn’t talking about an issue that nobody else knew anything about. I wanted to know more about this particular New Zealand issue (Gay Maxwell about Family Group Conferences and a new law that involved restorative justice for juveniles or lack of, I don’t know) – but the member was complaining about our lack of interest which was due to lack of knowledge instead of contributing knowledge so we COULD discuss it.
 
Very frustrating. This was before the www, before websites existed, and WAY long before Google and while internet WAS a lot easier than a public library, navigating wasn’t as easy as it is now.
 
I’m still annoyed. And my opinion? Still stands at 47.
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 Ok, it’s 28 years too late but:https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Family_Group_Conference“Family Group Conferences are used to make plans for children in a number of different contexts: Child Welfare, Youth Offending, Education Welfare, Domestic Violence, Children as Young Carers, Foster Breakdown, adoption etc. ”

The principles that underpin the Family Group Conference process are:

The child’s interests are paramount.
The child should have the resources made available for his or her voice to be heard.
The child’s views, feelings and solutions are as valid as the adults participating in the process.
Children are generally best looked after within their families. Services should seek to promote this wherever possible.
Working in partnership with families is beneficial for children.
Families have the ability to make rational and sound decisions about their future and the future of the children involved.
Given the right environment and the correct information, families instinctively know what is best for the children.

The Children Act 1989 strongly reflects these principles and provides the impetus for using Family Group Conferences in practice.

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 Ok. So now I know. I still don’t know what I would’ve discussed about it. “Yay, good idea” maybe?But I suspect it was a disgruntled dad who was going to lose custody.

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Oooh!! The FGC can end up taking AWAY individual rights by boxing into the family’s wishes. OK OK…. it WAS a good topic. Too bad the participant didn’t explain it. Instead, complained that the group was too USA focused. Bah. I’ll let it go now that I know.
 
https://www.researchgate.net/publication/248946117_Family_Group_Conferences_and_youth_advocacy_The_participation_of_children_and_young_people_in_family_decision_making
 
“The notion of independent advocacy does not sit easily with the principles of Family Group Conferences (FGC). The integrity of conferencing is in the competence of family members to make their own decisions. The challenge of enabling the voice and agency of children and young people within their own family networks however is formidable. The familial nexus can be as institutionally excluding as any other adult forum. This paper focuses on the work of a FGC project in Wiltshire, England, which used a small grant to provide independent advocacy for children and young people involved in conferences. Drawing on an evaluation of the project, the article argues that distinguishing children and young people’s power from parental and professional power permits their empowerment through the use of advocacy.”
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