With funding from the Transforming Alice Springs initiative, the Department for Children and Families (DCF) have established family group conferencing (FGC) for families of Aboriginal children where abuse and neglect has been substantiated to reduce the need for child protection matters to be determined through court processes. The project operates in Alice Springs and is being adapted from New Zealand and Australian models. The model aims to put decision making around child protection concerns in the hands of the child's immediate and extended family, providing resources for the implementation of a Partnership Plan with the family.
This pilot of FGC has provided evidence that FGCs can be convened in a timely fashion with Aboriginal families in Alice Springs. Anecdotal feedback from participants has highlighted the high levels of satisfaction with conferences convened to date and the potential transformative power of FGCs. Of key concern is securing ongoing funding of the program which will allow for the evaluation of outcomes from FGC processes, and of situating the program so that it maintains its independence from other units with DCF.