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.
The aim of the meeting each year is to bring together practitioners from various countries and organisations to share information and draw new inspiration from each other.
The meeting was officially opened with the traditional informal opening circle and a reception at the Primates Palace in the Old Town of Bratislava on 9 October. Over the next two days the participants shred information about recent and interesting developments from each country, had lively discussions during open space sessions and talked about common issues and opportunities in Europe.
A one-day Slovak national Conference on FGC practices has taken place on the day before the meeting with participating professionals from the child protection authorities, child care institutions, from Ministries ( Social Affairs, Interior, Education and Health Care), self-governing authorities, NGOs and practitioners from the child care system.
This year a group of Bulgarian participants attended the meeting – Malina Slavova from Opportunity and Protection Association Haskovo, Gergana Encheva from Gavroche Association Varna, Antoaneta Mateeva from Know How Centre at NBU and Miroslava Georgieva and Maria Petkova from Tulip Foundation.