How virtual family group conferences have fared under Covid-19

Family group conferences (FGCs) have been around in the UK since their introduction by Family Rights Group (FRG) and others in 1992 and they have been increasingly used in recent years for family-led planning in children and families’ social care. Whilst they are also used in adult services their major use still sits in children’s services. With Covid-19 came a number of challenges to FGC practice and services have often needed to be creative and resourceful in how they have met these challenges.

Covid restrictions have meant that many FGC services have either had to stop working or significantly alter their practice. Many FGC staff have simply been redeployed, often as social workers or family support workers, in order to support these increasingly stretched services at a time when many workers were shielding and unable to work. Others however have adapted their practice to plan, prepare and deliver ‘online FGCs’, and the national network run by FRG have developed guidance for these.

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