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Family Group Decision Making

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Family Group Decision Making (FGDM), a nationally used and research-informed practice, is a family centered process that recognizes the importance of involving family groups in decision making about children who need protection or care.

JusticeWorks YouthCare is skilled at facilitating the Family Group Decision Making process and received its certification in 2009.  Since then, we have provided this service in many counties throughout Pennsylvania and have been commended for our efficacy in getting a high percentage of conferences scheduled quickly and successfully completed.

The purpose of FGDM is to establish a process for families to join together with relatives, friends and other identified supports to develop a culturally sensitive plan ensuring that youth are cared for and protected from future harm.  The referred family has the opportunity to create their own solution to critical concerns related to the care of their children.


The core values of FGDM are:

  • Individuals and families have strengths
  • People and systems can change
  • A collaborative team approach works best
  • Every individual and family is unique, diverse and should be respected
  • The goal is safety, permanency and wellbeing for all children and families
  • Movement will be towards empowerment not control
  • Strengths are enhanced when families are acknowledged and encouraged
  • Options are better than advice
  • FGDM is voluntary
  • Families identify who participates in the conference
  • Everyone has some level of accountability in the FGDM process
  • Resources include natural supports as well as formal and informal supports

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