Early Help Family Group Conference (EHFGC)

Research shows that people are more productive, cooperative and make positive choices when professionals do things with them, rather than to them or for them. Working restoratively with families has a proven track record in Sutton of positive outcomes and it significantly reduces the need for interventions from Social Care. Conferencing can be used by families to help them to identify their own issues and to work out their own solutions. 

An EHFGC could be considered where:

  • support from the wider family could help create and sustain improvements, reduce or de-escalate concern
  • a child or young person is identified as experiencing 2 of more Early Help indicators
  • a child or young person has been referred into the Multi-Agency Safeguarding Hub (MASH) 3 or more times, resulting in no further action, subject to appropriateness and capacity for change
  • there is a risk of a child or young person coming into care 

Also known as a 'family meeting', an EHFGC is a voluntary process led by family members and is an opportunity for the wider family to come together to talk about any issues or concerns. Together, they can identify solutions and create a family plan to resolve them. The process is designed to be respectful and empowering, focusing on the family's own skills, strengths and family knowledge to make positive changes. The family, including children, young people, family friends and other close relatives, work together to address the concerns in a safe, supported environment where the family members are the decision makers rather than the professionals.