Peer-Reviewed Journal Details
Mandatory Fields
Paul Byrne and Carmel Devaney
Child Care In Practice
The value of Family Welfare Conferencing within the child protection and welfare system
In Press
Optional Fields
  The Family Welfare Conference (FWC) is a model used within the child protection and welfare services to address concerns about the needs of children and their family’s ability to respond to these needs. The FWC model operates in partnership with family members who participate in identifying both the issues of concern and potential responses to address these. The core premise of the FWC model involves greater engagement by family members in the process of responding to matters connected to their children’s protection and welfare. This paper presents the findings of a research study on the value placed on the FWC model by social workers working in a statutory child protection and welfare department in the Republic of Ireland. A mixed method study was employed with social workers asked to complete an anonymous questionnaire and to participate in a face-to-face interview.  The main findings highlight the value of FWC as a model of relationship-based practice, with participation and partnership with family members viewed as crucial elements. The particular strengths identified in the model include the relationship that is established and developed between the FWC co-ordinator and the family members, the decision making methods engaged in by families and the increased understanding of the issues involved by virtue of participation within the FWC process.  The place of the FWC within child protection and welfare services is considered in light of these findings with an overall positive viewpoint presented.    
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