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.
Tulip Foundation hosted the summer online meeting of the members of the European FGC network on 16 and 17 June. The meeting started with a brief update on recent developments in the presented countries. Participants from Belgium, France, Czeck Republic, the Netherlands, Lithuania, Germany, England, Spain, Switzerland, Israel and others discussed various topics of interest in Open space sessions. These include shame and its influence / impact in the FGC process; recent experience with the main subjects of the FGC´s and possible change of concerns due to Corona; FGC in case of risk and fear of change.
After a discussion during the meeting a draft position on the FGC in times of pandemic was send to all the members and was later adopted. Covid-19 pandemic once more demonstrated that in crisis people turn to other people for support. Great examples of human connectedness and practical help not just for family members, but also friends, neighbours, colleagues were seen across Europe. At the European Family and Community Conferences Network of professional organisations form twenty countries, we know that people are willing and able to come together in a structured way and find solutions. In our daily work with thousands FCC we experience the powerful strengths, expertise, willingness and ability of families/communities to make plans, solve different problems. Independent studies show sustainable results and effectiveness in social integration, poverty, health, child care, education, employment, disabilities, social inclusion of older people, mental care, (domestic) violence, justice, drug or alcohol abuse, communities. The FCC method works regardless culture, language, educational level. It is an old, yet innovative instrument that can contribute substantially to a fair and resilient Europe based on solidarity and practical responsibility of its citizens. Based on extensive practice across Europe and scientific findings the network invites stakeholders across Europe and beyond to foster this model for social inclusion and combating poverty in the current crisis and its aftermath.