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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2010 Week 14 Hansard (9 December) . . Page.. 6212..


Ms Burch: The answer to the member's question is as follows:

(a) Family decision meetings are commonly used to address a specific or immediate issue of concern. The meetings use a 'conflict dispute model' and normally occur through only one meeting. In comparison Family Group Conferences occur over a longer period of time, include a number of professionals and extended family members and result in a comprehensive 'family agreement' which can be lodged in the Children's Court.

(b) In general the family decision meetings assisted in resolving family conflict on issues such as contact arrangements and schooling.

(c) The review family decision meetings reviewed the 'agreements' made at the initial family decision meeting and addressed any further conflict or issues that had arisen.

Families—group conferencing (Question No 1239)

Mrs Dunne asked the Minister for Children and Young People, upon notice, on 18 November 2010:

In relation to Family Group Conferences referred to on page 76 of the Department of Disability, Housing and Community Services annual report 2009-10 (a) on what grounds are families referred to Family Group Conferencing, (b) of the eight new conferences held during 2009-10, how many resulted in family agreements, (c) what is the nature of matters agreed to in a family agreement and (d) in general terms, what were the outcomes from the nine conferences held to review previous decisions.

Ms Burch: The answer to the member's question is as follows:

(a) Any caseworker within the Department of Disability, Housing and Community Services can refer a family for a Family Group Conference. To refer a family the caseworker believes the family could benefit from the process of bringing professionals and family members together to develop a comprehensive 'family agreement' which addresses the wellbeing of a child or young person. As the process is voluntary, the family must be willing to participate in the conference.

(b) All of the eight conferences resulted in family agreements being reached. The family agreements were all lodged within the Children's Court and involved transferring of parental responsibility to a person other than the Chief Executive of the Department of Disability, Housing and Community Services.

(c) The family agreements address a number of different matters including children's residency, transferring of parental responsibility, contact with family members, transport arrangements, health and medical, schooling and financial agreements.

(d) The review Family Group Conferences resulted in minor changes of existing family agreements including issues such as changes in contact and transport.


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