In recent years there has been a developing trend toward involving family in the processes of child protection decision making. In 1989, New Zealand introduced new children and young persons legislation that formalized this trend in the child care and protection area. central to the operation of this legislation is the Family Group Conference. The model, based on traditional indigenous decision-making practices, has revolutionized social work with children and families and provides the opportunity for family, including extended family, to actively participate in matters concerning children and young persons. While family group conferences have been developed in New Zealand, the principles of family decision making in child protection work are of wide current interest and are increasingly utilized in practice developments internationally. experience indicates, however, that developing innovative policy and legislating for intervention processes is only part of what is required for good practice. Practice inevitably needs to be strongly located within a sound theoretical framework. The purpose of this volume is to provide the first theoretical and practice analysis of using family gr The book explores the central requirements of professional practice in the achievements of positive outcomes for children and families and offers a conceptual framework designed to provide multiple pathways for achieving participatory practice. A distinguishing feature of the book is that it develops a model of family decision making, effective participatory practice (EPP), that critically considers the family group conference process and the linking of models of empowerment, family participation, and partnerships in child protection.
Part 1 The social construction of family decision-making: family participation in child protection; the New Zealand experience; indigenous influences in child protection; international developments; emerging complexities of family decision-making practice. Part 2 Effective participatory practice: visionary professional practice; harnessing strengths, achieving partnerships -operationalizing EPP's central requirements; effective participatory practice in action; conclusions.