Collaborative Planning and Decision-Making in Child Welfare
Collaborative, or shared planning and decision-making, describes processes such as Mediation, Family Group Conferencing and Traditional Decision-Making. These processes involve family and community members in child welfare decision-making, and produce plans and agreements that protect children and youth and address the needs of families. The use of collaborative decision-making often avoids the need for court involvement. These processes are voluntary and confidential, as described in the Child, Family and Community Service Act. Read the *Options for parents and families fact sheet for more information.
Family Group Conference
The family group conference, which is also known as family group decision-making, is one type of shared decision-making process for families who are receiving child welfare services. It is a formal meeting where members of a child or youth's family come together with extended family, close friends, and members of the community to develop a plan for the child. A family group conference coordinator helps families to identify and invite people who will support them in developing a plan for their child. Family group conferences are designed to promote cooperative planning and decision-making and to enhance a family's support network.
For more information read the fact sheets:
* Family Group Conferencing for Children
* Family Group Conferencing for Youth
* Family Group Conferencing for Parents
* Family Group Conferencing for Extended Family
* Family Group Conferencing for Professionals
Sometimes family members and child welfare workers disagree on the best way to meet a child's individual needs. Child Protection Mediation is a process for working out disagreements with the help of a trained, impartial person (a mediator). Mediators do not judge who's right or wrong, nor do they make decisions. Instead, they encourage people to focus on common interests, and work towards a mutually acceptable solution.
For more information read the fact sheet:
* What is child protection mediation?
Cultural and/or Traditional Decision-making and Dispute Resolution Processes
Traditional decision-making processes are ways of planning and/or resolving disagreements by following community or cultural models and practices. For example, in some Aboriginal communities, elders may have a key role to play in guiding families and a child welfare worker through a decision-making process.
* These publications have been translated into several different languages. To view translated publications click here.