Family Group Decision Making (FGDM)

The information in this program outline is provided by the program representative and edited by the CEBC staff. This program has been rated by the CEBC in the following Topic Areas:

3  — Promising Research Evidence
3  — Promising Research Evidence
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About This Program

Target Population: Children who are abused/neglected and their family groups

Brief Description

FDGM is an innovative approach that positions the “family group” as leaders in decision making about their children’s safety, permanency, and well-being. Children and their parents are nested in a broader family group: those people to whom they are connected through kinship and other relationships. Agency decision-making practices that are planned and dominated by professionals and focused narrowly on children and parents can deprive those children and parents of the support and assistance of their family group — and can deprive agencies of key partners in the child welfare process. FGDM recognizes the importance of involving family groups in decision making about children who need protection or care, and it can be initiated by child welfare agencies whenever a critical decision about a child is required. In FGDM processes, a trained coordinator who is independent of the case brings together the family group and the agency personnel to create and carry out a plan to safeguard children and other family members. FGDM processes position the family group to lead decision making, and the statutory authorities agree to support family group plans that adequately address agency concerns. The statutory authorities also organize service providers from governmental and non-governmental agencies to access resources for implementing the plans. FGDM processes are not conflict-resolution approaches, therapeutic interventions or forums for ratifying professionally crafted decisions. Rather, FGDM processes actively seek the collaboration and leadership of family groups in crafting and implementing plans that support the safety, permanency and well-being of their children.

Program Goals:

The goal of Family Group Decision Making (FGDM) is:

  • Position family groups to lead decision-making processes with the support and resources of public agencies

Contact Information

Lisa Merkel-Holguin
Agency/Affiliation: Kempe Center for the Prevention and Treatment of Child Abuse and Neglect
Phone: (303) 864-5211
Fax: (303) 864-5367

Date Research Evidence Last Reviewed by CEBC: July 2017

Last CEBC Contact Date: May 2017

Date Program Content Last Reviewed by Program Staff: August 2017

Date Program Originally Loaded onto CEBC: May 2009