The outsider within: The agentic practices of Family Group Conference coordinators in the context of families with children at risk

Jordan Shaibe*, Orna Shemer

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Family Group Conference (FGC) is a participatory decision-making process for families with children at risk, for whom concerns were recognized by the family, the professionals and/or the community. In its initial stages, FGC is organized, and the families are accompanied, by independent coordinators. The study used a qualitative, action-oriented methodology to explore what practices coordinators use to foster FGC's family-led dynamic. The data collection included 13 semi-structured, in-depth interviews and two research group discussions with coordinators to learn about their perspectives and practices. The study found that these practices were guided by three main principles of action: to affirm the family's control and responsibility, to highlight the family's ability and to orient the family towards the future. The article explores how these practices contribute to the family-led dynamic of FGC and situates them within the context of the welfare system and the positioning of the coordinators as ‘outsiders-within’ to both the family and the welfare services. This study contributes to the body of knowledge on participatory child welfare models and agentic practices and offers implications for policy and implementation of FGC in a manner that recognizes and respects families' agency.

Original languageAmerican English
JournalChild and Family Social Work
DOIs
StateAccepted/In press - 2023

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2023 The Authors. Child & Family Social Work published by John Wiley & Sons Ltd.

Keywords

  • Family Group Conference
  • action-oriented knowledge
  • agency
  • coordinators
  • outsider-within

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