Dove Family Group Conference Camden
Steering Group 18th March 2015
Tim Fisher - FGC Service Manager
· Welcome and introductions and why? - RN
· Where DOVE FGC fits in the work on domestic violence and abuse -RN
What is DOVE FGC? - TF
Where are we now? - TF
· Outline of work done
· Case by Case
DOVE FGCs in context of Early Help
· Supporting DOVE FGC where there is no allocated SW
Role of the Multi – Agency partnership in DOVE FGC
· Commitment and resources
AOB & DONM
What is Dove Family Group Conference?
A constructive and even transformative way of working between families and social work agencies, an area traditionally filled with conflict and distrust”
Came about 80’s in New Zealand
Where the Maori community were alarmed at the high proportion of their children in care, the removal of those children to non-Maori institutions and carers, and the abuse that numbers of their children suffered.
Maoris pointed to their own long established practice of holding family network meetings (Whanu) to discuss and resolve problems faced by children and their families in the community.
So a crisis in social work services in New Zealand led to the Maori practice being examined and then adopted in a radical piece of legislation in 1989.
FGC has been introduced in more than 30 countries, including Italy, Russia,Thailand, USA, Brazil Israel and Saudi Arabia.
The key part of the process is ‘private family time’ where the family would meet without the social worker or any other professional to consider the social work concerns and to make a plan which answered those concerns.
FGC in Camden
Since year 2000
- Widening the circle (involving extended family),
- Taking/sharing responsibility for solutions,
- Culturally competent practice,
- Family leadership and empowerment,
- Non-adversarial and the use of private family time for decision-making.
Camden Model of Social Work Lucy Flaws
Why Dove FGC in Camden?
40 % of all referrals for FGC in Camden indicate domestic violence as a presenting parental issue, making it more prevalent (as a single issue) than substance misuse or parental mental health. To address this need Camden has adopted a specific model to work with the whole family to address domestic violence & help strengthen the immediate community around children.
Step in and be more purposeful in those cases where we think it would be safe and beneficial to address Domestic Abuse more directly in FGCs.
Research has proven that Whole-family interventions including Family Group conferencing can be effective with families experiencing domestic violence. Researcher Stanley (2011) found evidence from the original Dove Model (set up by Daybreak in Hampshire) and from Canada the Newfoundland & Labrador project that ‘indicators of child maltreatment and domestic violence’ dropped in the 32 families that had had an FGC while those indicators rose for their comparison group Pennell & Burford, (2000).
Adaptations for Dove
Peace of mind that Dove would help not harm (risk assessment)
An FGC strengthened by professional involvement
Headlining the Domestic Abuse
"When we have the right conversation, we get to learn from one another."
- Terry O'Connell, Real Justice Australia
Question: What change do we want to see when we work with families experiencing domestic abuse?
Engaging abusive fathers
Fathers often not worked with either as a risk or a resource (Cathy Ashley)
The agency focus on the victim separating from the violent partner and the lack of engagement with these fathers has been described by Mason as ‘unsafe certainty’ that is, pursuing a solution that is on the surface the quickest and the safest. As the FRG research shows the reality is that many of these fathers maintain their connection to the victim in some way or other. Mason (2005)
'Children most often retain an emotional connection with their fathers and continue to have contact with them despite past violence and regardless of whether or not their mothers and fathers separate. Such contact may play a powerful role in breaking the intergenerational transmission of violence if fathers are able to own and take responsibility for their past abuse' Scott & Crooks (2004)
“For Woman the majority of agency responses have tended to focus on the role of the mother in securing the protection and welfare of the children and encouraging women to leave or get the men to leave.” Featherstone et al (2014)