We are all born and live in families. Every family is unique with its own culture, personalities, individual dynamics and history. Every family goes through difficulties and problems every now and then. There are difficult situations related with children, youth, parents, older people in the family which might be sorted out easily with the support of relatives and friends. There are also cases when some help from health specialists, educational institutions, social services or other agencies could be necessary.
The Family group conference is a way to find out solutions to various problems when children, parents, members of the extended family, friends come together to make a plan. It is based on an old traditional and easy to understand concept – the power of the family circle. The family conference provides an opportunity chance for the family to get together, mobilize its own strengths and resources and to make the best possible plan to overcome the problems of a child or another member of the family. The members of the family take the decisions and the responsibilities. The professional do not decide – they provide the necessary information, support and services.
Tulip Foundation laid the fundament for the application of the method Family Group conference in Bulgaria in 2011 with the Trust in the Family Programme with partnership of Eigen Kracht Centrale. Tulip Foundation is an active member of the EU FGC network.
In the mornings of 12 and 13 April we had two inspiring online sessions with members of the European FGC network. Colleagues from Germany, France, England, Belgium, Austria, Spain, Bulgaria and the Netherlands shared some updates from their countries. We shared also our thoughts about some interesting topics, raised during the sessions. We talked about how do we feel about virtual family group conferences and virtual preparation; how do we promote the idea of FGC and how to deal with “social work traditions”. There was an open discussion about how do the different organisations measure the impact. And a concrete discussion about experiences with FGC in murder cases within the family. We shared information and links about recent research from a few countries. Alв participants had a about the Friday Stories.
The sessions were organised by Tulip Foundation. The meeting was highly motivational for all participants who shared questions and practical experiences.