Family Group Conferencing Facilitator Training and Membership

Family Group Conferencing is a form of family led decision making that is informed by the professionals such as child protection working with the family. It’s purpose is to empower families, friends, community and support services to come together to develop a care plan for a child or young person or other vulnerable family member.

Photo of Eve Clare at a FGC Workshop

Eve Clare at the Sydney May 2019 Workshop

In 2018 Mediation Institute launched training and membership services for Family Group Conference Facilitation.

We partnered with one of the most experienced Family Group Conference Facilitators and Trainers in Australia, Eve Clare.

Our goal was to bring together our expertise in flexible online learning and Eve’s subject matter expertise to create a course that is flexible, accessible and reasonably priced while still allowing time to gather and share learning in a workshop environment.


Family Group Conference Facilitator Training

The course we offer has a certificate issued by Mediation Institute as well as a statement of attainment issued by our Registered Training Organisation Partner, Inspiritive.

It is designed for people who already have some experience of working with families such as community services workers or dispute resolution professionals.  Find out more about the course.

The course is blended learning to make use of Mediation Institute’s award-winning eLearning methodologies plus a two-day workshop.

We offer a limited number of public workshops as well as the option for hosted workshops if your organisation or community can organise participants.

To host a workshop we need a minimum of ten (10) people. If you would prefer to host than to pay for staff to travel consider whether there are other individuals and organisations in your area who may like to attend your hosted workshop to make up the numbers.

We provide a rebate of $150 per guest who attends your hosted workshop to cover catering and incidental costs and recognise your support for the industry.

Family Group Conference Facilitator Membership

Mediation Institute provides membership support for Family Group Conference Facilitators.

Mediation Institute is a recognised mediator accreditation body (RMAB) under the Mediator Standards Board. We provide membership support and complaint handling services for National Mediator Accreditation System (NMAS) accredited Mediators and registered Family Dispute Resolution Practitioners throughout Australia.

In 2018 we established a membership category for Family Group Conference Facilitators.  There is not currently an official standard for FGC’s set by government or industry so our standards are loosely based on the NMAS standards. Any complaints about members are evaluated based on our complaint handling approach for other similar professionals.

Our approach is to keep costs low and focus on both the professional practice (the work) and building a professional practice (getting work) as many of our members provide some or all of their services as independent professionals.

This membership includes:

  • independent complaint handling service should there be the need to escalate a client complaint
  • referral to an insurance underwriter for professional indemnity insurance at $200 plus state tax (between $220 and $245 for a basic policy)
  • professional development and peer group supervision support specific to FGC’s. This also includes the right to participate in any other Mediation Institute Professional Development at no cost
  • ethical standards and a certificate of membership proving that you are a certified Family Group Conference Facilitator


Work as a FGC Facilitator


The NSW Department of Family and Community Services (FACS) has periodic tenders open for a panel of Family Group Conference Facilitators to provide services in the child protection context. This is a link to the tender that closed 3rd August 2018 Link to Tender 

Search Term – FACS Family Group Conferencing


There are changes occurring in Queensland as well which will promote the use of FGC and we expect that child protection services and others around the country will continue and expand their use of this approach to help families protect their young ones.

South Australia

Here is some information about the use of FGC in the context of the youth courts in South Australia.


If you are planning on tendering when the FACS panel is opened up again  there are a few things that could help your tender become successful.

  1. You must have skills and experience in Family Group Conferencing for a successful application. We can help with developing the skills and qualifications of your staff. If you want more staff to be trained then please go ahead and register them now for the Family Group Conferencing training
  2. You can be a Corporate Member of Mediation Institute for Family Group Conferencing. This will also support your application. Mi FGC Member v7.18 This will be a great support for any staff or facilitators who want to have ongoing education and group supervision sessions for a low membership fee.

Contact Us if you have any questions about the training or membership.

Please forward this post on to anyone you know who may be interested in this training or who is already a Certified Family Group Conference Facilitator and may be interested in membership based support.

Experience Qualified Pathway to NMAS Accreditation

Experience Qualified Pathways

There are two experience qualified pathways for people who are working as unaccredited mediators who wish to become accredited.

  • Experience, education and assessment.
  • Culturally and Linguistically Diverse (CALD) knowledge, experience and assessment.

Both Pathways require an assessment of competence which is generally conducted through a Video Mediation role play by Mediation Institute.

Cost for the assessment is $550 but please contact us before purchasing to make sure that your evidence of experience and competence is acceptable.



Experience, education and assessment


  1. You must provide us with evidence that you have conducted at least 100 hours of mediation within the two years prior to your application. Proof may take the form of a log book and CV or a letter from an employer.

    We don’t require confidential information about clients just dates and type of mediation.

  2. Two references from people who can state that you are a competent mediator 
  3. You will have to show that you have completed mediator training, supervision or education to our satisfaction in the previous two years. Generally this would be at least 25 hours of mediation training, supervision or professional development.
  4. You will have to demonstrate competence in an assessment  

Culturally and Linguistically Diverse knowledge, experience and assessment

  1. You must provide us with evidence that you possess appropriate  mediation experience and knowledge of the unique values and  traditions within the culturally and linguistically diverse (CALD) community with which you identify
  2. Two references from people who can state that you are a competent mediator
  3. You will have to demonstrate competence in an assessment  

What is Family Group Conferencing?

What is Family Group Conferencing?

What is family group conferencing?

It is a family led decision-making process about the care and protection of a vulnerable family member.

Often it is used in situations where child protection is involved with a family due to concerns about child abuse or neglect but the methodology can be used in many contexts such as if a child is out of control and coming to the attention of juvenile justice or if parents are unable to care for children themselves due to substance abuse issues, mental health, disability or other challenges they are facing. It can be used during relationship breakups in non-nuclear family groups and in the context of elder care arrangements decision making.

Is it mediation?

Not really although it is a form of alternative dispute resolution. 

While mediation is much less formal and structured than court processes it has a structure that is more focused on the mediator managing the process and moving the discussion forward in quite a structured way. In most cases only the key people are at the table in mediation.

In the case of family group conferencing everyone from the family and community who may be able to assist is at the table and ideally only one representative of “the authorities”.  This prevents the power imbalance that family members usually experience when child protection, juvenile justice or other government department are involved with the family and call a meeting that is not facilitated by a Family Group Conference Facilitator.

Under legislation authorities may have the power to remove the child, put them into juvenile detention or have already removed the child from the family home and the family is trying to get them back into stable care with the family. This creates a situation where family may be feeling very frightened and powerless. There may be shame and embarrassment meaning that family members who could help don’t know how bad the situation is.

The process of family group conferencing seeks to overcome these issues. 

Family Group Conferencing is based on the realisation that it takes a villiage to raise a child and supports the formation of a village of care for the child or other vulnerable family member with an understanding of the issues and reality testing of plans based on knowledge about the situation provided by the professionals who are involved.

Family Group Conferencing works on the principle that it takes a village to raise a child which got lost in the industrial revolution and the ongoing breakdown of extended families in some cultures.

The concept of a nuclear family (mum, dad and children) is something that was supported by most legislation over the last century as being the structure of a family however there is starting to be a realisation that this is not a protective model when there are family problems.

The trend towards the requirement for Family Group Conferencing in child protection and other relevant legislation is starting to recognise that marginalising the extended family and caring community members is bad policy and an ineffective approach to child protection. 


Training opportunities

Mediation Institute sees great potential in this model beyond the child protection area and are committed to training and supporting family group conference facilitators who can provide the level of facilitation needed for the model to achieve it’s potential.

Find out more about training to become a Family Group Conference Facilitator with Mediation Institute.

Gem Emmerson

Gem Emmerson says…

After undertaking extensive online research on mediation education providers, I chose to work with the Mediation Institute to assist me in making a diversion in my career path.

Read More »

Most of Mediation Institute’s training is delivered through online learning and live video meeting role plays but not our Family Group Conference Facilitator Training because a core skill for a FGC Facilitator is to manage a room full of people.

Theory is delivered through online learning and then there is a 2 day workshop.


extended family

Family Group Conferencing orginated in New Zealand and has spread to many countries other than Australia.

According to the Guardian in the UK 70% of local Authorities in England offer Family Group Conference (FGC) service. 

This is a quote from an article published in 2012!

If you haven’t come across it before, an FGC is a very simple, immediate and common sense solution to a range of problems, most commonly used to safeguard children.

Rather than facing a lonely battle, parents, their parents, wider family, friends and most importantly, the child or children come together to make a joint decision about their future.

Instead of visiting austere council buildings, family and professionals come together in a more comfortable, neutral venue. Professionals present the bottom line; often a child will have to enter the care system if a safe plan can’t be agreed.

The article goes on to say that in 2011 89.5% of children referred to one service by Social Services found a safe home within their extended family. Read the article here.

Upcoming Events
Peer Supervision
Tue 23

Online Peer Group Supervision Session

23 July @ 12:00 pm - 1:30 pm AEST
Peer Supervision
Tue 23

Online Peer Group Supervision Session

23 July @ 7:00 pm - 8:30 pm AEST

Reversing another stolen generation

I hope you are aware of the major gaps in equality between Australian Aboriginals and Torres Strait Islander people’s and the general population on almost all measures of quality of life, life expectancy, incarceration and removal of children.

Data from the Australian Institute of Family Studies

I say I hope you are aware because awareness is the first step towards the outrage that I would like to think we should all be feeling about what too many of our indigenous brothers and sisters are living with on a daily basis. When we find an issue outrageous and unacceptable change happens.

The issues are many and complex. Taking children from their families and putting them into unstable out of home care is just going to lead to another generation of harm, disadvantage and hurt that their parents are the victims of.

Putting children into kinship care, into overcrowded housing and with inadequate support is also a problem. Without appropriate support the extra burden of caring for what is by now probably a troubled and traumatised child isn’t going to work well for anyone. 

Family Group Conferencing provides the opportunity for family members to come together to understand the situation and to develop a plan that they are in control of and have developed. Not something imposed by a representative of a department who has never walked in their shoes.


FGC Resolve Disputes

Join us and train to become a family group conference facilitator.

Help us give families back their power to make decisions about the best way to care for their vulnerable family members.

Protected: Family Group Conference Facilitation Webinar May 2019

This Family Group Conference Facilitation Webinar May 2019 was primarily focused on the higher conflict cases and was facilitated by Eve Clare

Pre-Mediation Coaching

Pre-Mediation Coaching

What is pre-mediation coaching?

Pre-mediation coaching is an approach to help people who may have difficulties using mediation.  Coaching provides assistance for them to develop skills and knowledge that will help them deal with the difficulties associated with crossing the gap between being separated and sorting out parenting and property issues.

The main purpose of pre-mediation coaching is to help build negotiation skills and self-management skills to assist clients to maintain self-determination and avoid being sucked into expensive and wasteful Family Law legal disputes.

What training is available for coaches?

Mediation Institute has two courses available to assist professionals who would like to build their skills as coaches.

The Family Law Options Consultation is a legal information and coaching session for people who want help to develop a family law goal plan.

It makes use of one unit from the CHC81115 – Graduate Diploma of Family Dispute Resolution in a highly contextualised course. The unit is CHCFAM001 – Operate within the Family Law Context and teaches how to provide legal information in a contextualised way without providing legal advice.

The other course is New Ways for Families Coach training course which provides skills in helping parents to develop their ability to negotiate. The original program was developed by Bill Eddy from the High Conflict Institute and has been fully adapted to Australia.

Gem Emmerson

Gem Emmerson says…

After undertaking extensive online research on mediation education providers, I chose to work with the Mediation Institute to assist me in making a diversion in my career path.

Read More »

Find out more about the Family Law Consultation Training.

Upcoming Events
Peer Supervision
Tue 23

Online Peer Group Supervision Session

23 July @ 12:00 pm - 1:30 pm AEST
Peer Supervision
Tue 23

Online Peer Group Supervision Session

23 July @ 7:00 pm - 8:30 pm AEST
Wed 24

Interact Support Information Session

24 July @ 1:00 pm - 2:00 pm AEST

Find out more about the New Ways for Families Coach Training.

New Ways Coach Training
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