Strengthening Families Framework

Format of conferences

  • Chair meets the family prior to the conference and encourages participation
  • Family are seated in the conference room before
  • Brief introductions and explanations of the process occur and geneogram (family tree) is confirmed as accurate /amended
  • Professionals then enter and the information conference begins for professionals and the family
  • Key information is written on a white board /flip chart in the front of the room. The strengthening families framework is used to clearly map the information under headings (danger/harm; risk; complicating factors; safety; strengths; grey areas) for all to view, and the family get the opportunity to respond in a structured way
  • Following all information being shared the social worker is asked for their risk statement i.e. what might be the outcome of the child if things don’t change
  • A plan is then developed outlining the 'next steps', that is action is required to reduce concerns and increase safety for the child. Responsibility and timescales for the actions is assigned (focus of the conference is on formulating the plan with the professionals and the family inputting). The focus is on changes required and in formulating a realistic plan while ensuring safety, linked to required outcomes and identified strengths and risks. The contingencies and consequences of no change are clearly outlined to the family
  • Once the plan is completed professionals are asked to make a decision as to whether it should be a child protection or child in need plan this (enables a focus on risk/strengths and on threshold; it also aids participation form all participants including the family and ownership of the plan)
  • A record of the meeting is taken i.e. a summary of the discussion and decisions plus reasoning and any dissent.

When a family is invited to a conference, they will receive the following information with their invite letter:

  • Information for the family
  • Information for the children

The social worker will prepare the family for the conference by encouraging them to fill in the whiteboard template designed for the family and the children

  • Whiteboard for parents/carers
  • Whiteboard for children