Researching family group conferences in adult services

Manthorpe J, Rapaport J


This methods review considers the background and child-care origins of Family Group Conferences (FGCs) as a context to growing research interests about FGCs’ potential as successful interventions in adult social care and social work practice. The theoretical frameworks underpinning the initiative’s development and their relevance to social work principles and practice are identified. Methods used to describe and evaluate FGC initiatives for adults in the United Kingdom (UK) are outlined.

International research into FGCs’ use and effectiveness in adult services is examined and implications for future development and research are discussed.

This review aims to be relevant to practitioners, managers, policymakers, educationalists, researchers and to families themselves all of whom may want to know if FGCs will lead to cost-effective, acceptable and positive outcomes for adults with needs for care and support.

As a NIHR SSCR methods review, this review outlines the methods used to obtain the evidence about FGCs, commenting on the advantages of different methods and their disadvantages. Guides to the running of FGCs are available and, as noted in the review, they are increasingly being included in the family of approaches referred to as strengths-based social work or practice.

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