Family Group Conference Facilitation is becoming more popular throughout Australia for child protection services seeking to engage with families when children are at risk or in out of home care.
The process is empowering, inclusive and much more appropriate in terms of strength based practice than alternatives where case workers do not allow families to actively develop plans for the safe and appropriate care of their children.
Family and Community Services NSW
The use of Family Group Conferencing is well entrenched in NSW with a Family Group Conference Facilitator Panel established to ensure that appropriately qualified practitioners can be located and engaged to provide these services. The latest application round closed on the 3rd August 2018 with the next opportunity to apply for the panel for organisations and individuals expected at the end of the year.
Information about the panel is available on the eTendering website. https://tenders.nsw.gov.au/?event=public.rft.showClosed&RFTUUID=E422B2F7-BCE7-F2E3-FAADD3BEBE068B49
Want to find out more about Family Group Conference Facilitation?
Watch this video from a Q & A session with Eve Clare our partner and section head for our Family Group Conference Facilitator Training.
Requirements to apply to join the panel
To comply with the tender requirements Family and Community Services (FACS) Family Group Conference (FGC) facilitators will have relevant skills and experience, including the qualifications and requirements outlined below:
1. Demonstrated experience in relationship-based practice and strong interpersonal skills to support effective communication with vulnerable families.
2. Demonstrated experience in mediation, facilitation or other forms of alternative dispute resolution, within a child protection or family focused context.
3. Experience in managing complex issues and group dynamics, and capacity to manage impasse situations.
5. Current or recent membership of a recognised mediator accreditation body or other relevant professional affiliation. Mediation Institute now offers FGC Facilitators membership in addition to NMAS Mediators and FDR Practitioners.
6. Understanding of the alternative dispute resolution confidentiality provisions of the Children and Young Persons (Care and Protection) Act 1998 (Chapter 15A) and its application within the FACS family group conferencing process.
Facilitators must also have a current NSW Working with Children Check and National Criminal History Record check, and provide evidence of current professional indemnity and public liability insurance.
Get your qualifications and membership through Mediation Institute
If you are not yet qualified in these areas but would like to become a Family Group Conference Facilitator you can train through Mediation Institute.
- The lowest cost pathway is to complete the Family Group Conference Facilitator Course at $1,190 plus join Mediation Institute as a Family Group Conference Facilitator at $220 for two years. A total investment of $1,410. Less if you train and join under a Corporate Members.
- The next least expensive pathway to an acceptable qualification is to become a NMAS Accredited Mediator with the course costing $2,495 plus join Mediation Institute as a new NMAS Mediator Member at $320 for two years. A total investment of $2,815. Less if you train and join under a Corporate Membership.
- The most comprehensive training is as a Family Dispute Resolution Practitioner at $11,900 plus join Mediation Institute as a FDR Practitioner Member at $220 for two years. A total investment of $12,120 less if you provide your own work placement or only complete the core units not the full qualification.
Which option you chose will depend on your goals in the dispute resolution industry.
Do you want to dedicate to working as a Family Group Conference Facilitator or do you want that to be just part of your work?
What about if I am already a NMAS Mediator or FDR Practitioner? Do I still need to do the FGC Course?
According to the information provided by FACS you don’t have to do the specific training to become a certified Family Group Conference Facilitator. They are accepting applications from people with more general dispute resolution qualifications.
Should you do the training? We think so as it will provide you with a greater depth of understanding of the distinctions of the role and how to facilitate Family Group Conferencing effectively.