The facilitator is responsible for making sure that everyone at the conference focuses on what is in the best interest of the child or young person. The facilitator ensures that the participants are provided with enough information to make decisions about their child’s future. The facilitator will give everyone a chance to speak and does not take sides.
The facilitator has no authority over Child Safety Service or their resources. The facilitator is required to work in cooperation with Child Safety Service, the child/young person (if old/mature enough), their family and anyone else who attends the conference.
The facilitator does a lot of work before the conference talking to the child and/or their family about the circumstances that have led to the conference being called and about the particular difficulties they have encountered. It is important that the facilitator has a good understanding of all issues that may affect the family group conference process.
It is also the facilitator’s role to help the child and their family prepare for the conference and to find out what the family might need in order to feel comfortable at the conference. The facilitator is responsible for:
- organising the venue;
- inviting people to the conference;
- organising food and drink; and
- organising transport, child care, an interpreter or anything else that the family might need to participate in the conference.
The facilitator also guides participants through each stage of the conference. These include:
- Part 1 - Introductions and Information Sharing;
- Part 2 - Private Family Time;
- Part 3 - Discussion of the Plan
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