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Family Welfare Conference

What is a Family Welfare Conference?

A Family Welfare Conference (FWC) is a special meeting which is held when a child or young person is experiencing difficulties. The meeting involves the child, family, some of the people who are important in the child’s life and professionals. At this meeting, the family are supported by the other people in attendance to make a plan to support the child or young person.

The aim of a Family Welfare Conference (FWC) is that those who are close to the child or young person come up with solutions to address the needs of the child, and which can work in their day-to-day lives.

The motivation behind a Family Welfare Conference (FWC) is that the most important people in the child’s life, who know them best, are involved in thinking about what the child needs, how to keep them safe, and are key in making any decisions. Being part of the process helps build their understanding and their commitment to carrying-out the plan.

Professionals take part in the meeting to make sure the child or young person remains at the centre of the plan, and that any decisions made support the child’s development and meet the requirement to keep the child safe.

Family Welfare Conference (FWC) meetings usually take place where there is a concern for the child’s welfare or safety.

Does it work?

In 2009 an independent report found that the majority of Family Welfare Conferences resulted in positive outcomes for the children, particularly for children in care and for those who were not regularly attending school.

I was amazed to watch the Family Welfare Conference meeting unfold and to see a family who are normally at logger-heads come up with a number of workable solutions to their problem. It seemed like an empowering position for the family and all the suggestions were very doable. A safe forum for all the family members to speak and be heard, may seem like a simple, logical thing, but it rarely happens in reality.

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