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NCJRS Abstract

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NCJ Number: 161312 Find in a Library
Title: Family Group Decision-making in the United States: The Case of Oregon (From Family Group Conferences: Perspectives on Policy and Practice, P 180-194, 1996, Joe Hudson, Allison Morris, et al, eds. - See NCJ-161303)
Author(s): L Graber; T Keys; J White
Date Published: 1996
Page Count: 15
Sponsoring Agency: Criminal Justice Press/Willow Tree Press
Sale Source: Criminal Justice Press/Willow Tree Press
United States of America
Type: Survey
Language: English
Country: Australia
Annotation: The use of family group decisionmaking in Oregon's child welfare agency is described, with emphasis on its use in cases involving child abuse and neglect and the development of the family unity meeting model.
Abstract: Oregon has been using family group decisionmaking extensively since 1989 in work with the State Office for Services to Children and Families. Various State laws and administrative rules require active family involvement in care and custody decisions; the family decisionmaking process is one of many options. The essence of the process is the establishment of a collaborative relationship between the government and families to ensure the safety of children at risk of child abuse. The family unity meeting differs from New Zealand's family group conferences in that a facilitator is used throughout the meeting. The meeting is based on the philosophy that families have strengths and can change, that strengths are what ultimately resolve issues of concern, that empowering people is preferable to controlling them, and that a consultant is more helpful than a dictator. The three parts of the meeting are (1) listing the concerns of the agency and those of the family, (2) asking the family and their friends for their best thinking on how to deal with the concerns, and (3) outlining the final plan reached by the participants. A 1994 survey of caseworkers in the State's western region revealed that 66 percent had used the technique during the prior year, that staff had generally favorable attitudes toward the technique, and they regarded the approach as least useful in cases of child sexual abuse and during the assessment or investigation process. Appended facilitator's guide and service agreement form
Main Term(s): Juvenile court reform
Index Term(s): Abused children; Alternative dispute settlement; Child abuse and neglect hearings; Family courts; Family intervention programs; Oregon; Parent-Child Relations
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