A Closer Examination of Family Group Decision Making in
Family Group-Conferencing has the potential to enhance
family ties as well as strengthen connections within the community
while supporting the child.164 In a survey comparing the effects of
FGDM with traditional services, relatives engaged in FGDM services
indicated a greater sense of empowerment that was shared by the
children, who showed less anxiety than when exposed to traditional
services.165 Furthermore, available data from FGDM implementation
indicates that relative placements increase directly following a
FGDM conference.166 Even in cases in which permanency is not
achieved, however, the establishment of familial connections can be
beneficial for a child’s future.167 Emotional connections with parents
or family members can have the greatest impact on a youth’s ability
to navigate the difficult transition into adulthood.168 Subsequently,
the experience of an FGDM conference, as well as the placement that
follows, positively impacts a child’s adjustment to his or her new
Accordingly, the FGDM model would be an effective and
successful method to increase the reliance and participation of
extended family and community members in the U.S. when parents
are unable to care for their child. By bringing in the extended family
to help and offer a more supportive environment, the FGDM model
actively increases family unity. Furthermore, in many states where
kinship foster parents do not receive an abundance of resources, an
164 Id. at 3.
165 In survey data from 200 FGDM conferences, parents felt more empowered, had
a better sense of what was expected of them, and were better able to identify issues
in the family plan of service as a result of having participated in an FGDM
conference, when compared to survey data from 194 Permanency Planning Team
meetings. Sheets et al., supra note 144, at 1191. Traditional services, such as
counseling, seek to reduce the risk and address the effects of maltreatment. See
DIANE DEPANFILIS, U.S. DEP’T OF HEALTH & HUMAN SERVS., CHILD NEGLEC T: A
GUIDE FOR PREVENTION, ASSESSMENT, AND INTERVENTION 91 (2006),
166 Sheets et al., supra note 144, at 1191; Robinson et al., supra note 146, at 44.
167 CHILD WELFARE POLICY BRIEFING, supra note 150, at 3.
168 CONNECTED AND CARED FOR, supra note 144, at 4.
169 Sheets et al., supra note 144at 1189.