Presentation on theme: "Dr Cath Larkins University of Central Lancashire"— Presentation transcript:
1 Intergenerational dialogue in Family Group Conferences: moving from protection to participation. Dr Cath LarkinsUniversity of Central LancashireChildren, Young People, and Adults: Extending the ConversationUCLan, Preston UK, Sept 2012Ear2theGround - Trudy Aspinwall Action for Children
2 What is a Family Group Conference? A family led meeting to develop plans to address child welfare concerns.Idea developed in New Zealand in 1980sUsed in the UK since 1990a space in which different generations within a family meet together, without professionals, to develop and define plans to provide solutions to the difficulties their family are encountering (FRG 2005).
4 Illustrative StoryJoshua, aged 15, and his family, were referred to FGC by a social worker who was concerned about his anti social behaviour and non-attendance at school.- mother wanted the focus to be the failure of her ex-husband to have contact with Joshua, his son.- father wanted the focus to be the mother’s lack of parenting skills.- Joshua wanted the focus to be the failure of his school to provide him with training as a mechanic.- The coordinator works with all to agree a focus.- The 3, plus grandparents, have FGC to set a plan.
5 Outline for rest of this paper Why explore FGCsMethodology and MethodsFindingsGetting readyAdvocacyThe beginning of the meeting/information sharingFamily timePutting the plan into actionExtra thoughtsDiscussionConclusion
6 Why look at FGCs? Participation? Protection? Intergenerational Recent legislative change > greater use likely(Masson 2010)Concerns about children being heard(Holland et al 2004; Holland and O’Niell 2006)Concerns about children being distressed/bored(Kirby and Laws 2010)A space of dialogue – Habermas(Haynes and Houston 2008)How facilitator supports dialogue(Holland and Rivet 2008)Participation?Protection?Intergenerationaldialogueandadvocacy?
7 Pockets of participation MethodologyParticipatory Dialogic Research(Freire 1973; Save the Children 2008)Pockets of participation(Franks 2010)What makes a good Family Group Conference?What makes good advocacy within FGCs?Following the fieldwork Critical Realism– mechanisms, agency and structure(Pawson and Tilley 1998)
8 Methods and participants Initial meetings with staff to decide research questions.Questionnaire to ask everyone who had taken part in Family Group conferences over the previous year (120 sent) - (response rate 25%)Questionnaire results as ‘generative themes’ explored by participation group of 15aged 8-17.met 4 times, for a day each time,to decide and reflect on further questions, themes, priorities.
9 Dialogue Using young people’s questions and themes 5 interviews with family members3 focus groups: referring professionals, internal and external advocates2 interviews with FGC coordinatorsTheir ideas were developed into a priority ranking questionnaire (55 sent) - (response rate 15)Young people’s responses in dialogue with (but given weight over) professionals’.Dialogue may continue in further analysis
10 Some of the FindingsDifference in the stages of FGC
11 Inter-generational dialogue not onlyinfamily timeGetting readyAdvocacyInformation sharing to define focusFamily timePutting the plan into action(Hayes andHouston2008: 995)(Larkins and Aspinwall,Forthcoming)
12 Young people should be involved in the pre FGC dialogue about Making a referral – self-referrals not possibleWhether FGC takes place“I think [an FGC] should be when everyone agrees that there should be one, but that if one person wants one you should do something about it” Young Person‘You should only have a family group conference when you know everyone will do what they promise to do’. Young People’s GroupWho is thereWhat is discussed
13 Agencies should also be clear about RisksSocial Services - if there are particular consequences.All external agencies - what services and support are available to the family and/or young person.Provision13
14 Family Time and the Plan “I was the only person there – no-one from my family showed up” Young Person“There have been times when adults keep on arguing and young people aren’t listened to” AdvocateThree young people said plans were not made because their family would not participate.“They all sat around and talked and all said their part. I liked it because they all talked. It wasn’t telling you what to do” Young PersonHalf the steering group felt• listened to•like family cared more about what was going on for them“We all wrote it, worked really well; he (young person) was writing everything down on big sheets” Parent14
15 What happens when it works? DiscussionWhat happens when it works?YP3: “It makes you realise you are pushing your parents too far and makes them realise that you are older than they think you are,YP4: Or younger than they think you are so they shouldn’t be expecting so much of you, like that you should be going out to work.YP3: Makes them see the child as a person. Sometimes they don’t see what is going on for you and it helps them realise.”
16 Why does it work sometimes? DiscussionWhy does it work sometimes?Safety and influence achieved through supported dialogueAdvocate who knows / follows roleCoordinator who listen’s to child’s viewsYoung person who feels confidentFamily takes views seriously
17 Extract …of checklist on Advocacy Meet with young person together with parents/carers to explain advocacy roleMeet with young people individually at least twice before the conferenceCharter: An advocate will …a. Get the child’s views heard.b. Explain things to the young personc. Support young people through the meeting whatever happensd. Remind children and young people what they wanted to saye. Tell other people if they are worried about a child’s safetyf. Be independent from the familyg. Establish some agreement with young people about what to do should things get upsetting in the meeting.17
18 Enhances safety byYoung people and others knowing they can take a break.Giving weight to young people’s views on who should be at the FGCAdvocate is not primary protector, although can agree to take on an element of this role as determined by the young person.Coordinator role to judge risks.18
19 When doesn’t it work?YP2: “Depends on the parents and how they’ve brought you up.YP3: It can help you build a relationship back up, so it can help with a short-term problem. But you can’t take back the things that have been said and doneover years.YP5: If they have made you feel like they really care for you when you are younger, say up to the age of 7, if you then have problems or fights when you are a teenager at least you have got that to fall back on. I think that when you don’t have that caring when you are young then it’s not going to work trying to talk about it when you are older, because why would it?”
20 Are FGCs intergenerational? Adult to adult dialogue influencingWhether conference should take place, with whoFocus of FGCExtent children are heardWhether promises are enforcedEsp. access to resources= structural tendencies
21 Content of the plan Child to adult dialogue influencing And also…Child to adult dialogue influencingWhether conference should take place, with whoLevel of risk/harm/safety they are comfortable withContent of the planHow promises are enforcede.g. impact of participation group= provide a potential for change for some
22 FGC are an arena of intergenerational dialogue between ConclusionFGC are an arena of intergenerational dialogue betweenChildren and conference coordinatorsChildren and advocatesChildren and older family membersFGC can encourage intergenerational dialogue to recommence in familiesWhere negative intergenerational dialogue is occurring – it is better for children and young people that this occur in the relatively supported setting of an FGC
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