Training and Working Together
The Ma Mawi Wi Chi Itata Centre has been traditionally blessed by the Maori from New Zealand to be the Keepers and Leaders of the Maori FGC with the responsibility to share this Indigenous knowledge with others through training and working together. The model is an Indigenous based and Indigenous led process that shifts the decision making regarding the care and protection of children to the entire family and community.
The Family Group Conference process borrows heavily in three major aspects from the decision making practices of Maori people – practices that are uncannily congruent with those of indigenous populations in other parts of the world.
Firstly, as many people as possible affected by the issue are gathered together as problem solvers, with everyone present having equal rights to participation.
Secondly, as much time as is necessary is taken to examine and talk through the issues, seeking to understand what has happened and its impacts rather than to ascribe blame.
And thirdly, there is a search for consensus, recognising that consensus is fundamental to collective ownership and responsibility.
The Family Group Conference: Changing the face of Child Welfare Mike Doolan
Ma Mawi Wi Chi Itata Centre 15-years of Learnings:
- Families who attend FCG are committed to the process in terms of time and plan development.
- The longest FGC to date was twelve hours in length.
- The shortest was four hours.
- The average time to complete a FGC is up to six hours.
- Majority of FGC are held on Saturdays when it is convenient for the families.
- The average FGC has at least six family supports in attendance.
- To date the largest FGC participation has been seventeen.
- Majority of FGC result in the development of a family supportive plan.
- Majority of these plans identified family members as the key sources of support in the plans.