The CDR trains and coordinates volunteers, who provide the family group conference facilitations to families in the RPG program. Volunteers were trained in spring of 2013, and a second group of volunteers is currently in training. Referrals to the program have been steady, and already families are seeing the benefits of the program.
Family group conferences bring a family together with their relatives, friends, and other supportive people in their lives to develop a plan to support the parent in recovery and ensure the safety and well-being of the children involved.
This is not counseling or mediation; instead families are empowered to create their own plans to address problems and support the parents and children taking part in the program. Volunteer facilitators (working in pairs) are responsible for preparing family members for the family group conference and guiding the family meeting in a transparent, honest, and respectful way. Family group conferencing helps develop and strengthen a family’s support network, significantly benefiting children and their family groups, while putting the family at the center of decision-making as they create plans that fit their unique circumstances.
In the words of some family members who have taken part in the family group conferences:
- “This really helped us figure out who is able to be there for support.”
- “I thought the plan went well. Our family pulled together and did great.”
- “I am very glad this group happened.”