Support for families

Family Meeting Service

What is a Family Meeting?

It is a time for family members, carers and friends to come together to talk about what is happening. It could be to find support, find out how everyone feels and to look at ways to change things to make them work better and to help sort out any problems. The meeting will look at the best way the child can feel safe and be supported.

When does this happen?

A Family Meeting can happen at any time when you or your family feel it would be good to talk about what is going on and make a plan to help things change for the child.

Who is the co-ordinator?

The co-ordinator will:

  • be an independent person
  • organise the meeting with you
  • meet with you before the meeting and visit the child / young person
  • help you decide who will be invited to the meeting and where it should be held
  • meet with the people you have given them to invite. This should include everyone you would find helpful to have at the meeting
  • be sensitive about different religions and cultures which will help them to make sure the meeting is as comfortable and as easy to understand as possible. They can arrange an interpreter if necessary

The structure of the meeting

There are three parts to the meeting:
  1. Sharing what everyone knows

    The co-ordinator will welcome everyone. The referrer will share what has been happening and everyone will have an opportunity to talk and ask any questions. The co-ordinator will help everyone to stay calm and make sure everyone has an opportunity to have their say.
  2. Time on your own

    The co-ordinator and anyone working with you will leave the room so that you can have some private time and make a plan for the child is question. The co-ordinator will be on hand to answer any questions and provide any other help that is needed.
  3. Agreeing the plan

    When you have talked about and answered the questions, the co-ordinator and the referrer will come back into the room. Everyone will look at the plan together, talk about how it will work, agree and then sign it. The plan is typed up, and everyone who is at the meeting and involved in the plan is sent a copy to remind them of what has been agreed.

What happens at the Family Meeting

The co-ordinator will make sure that everyone who is at the meeting follows some basic ground rules; they make sure everyone knows that they are there to make a plan that will help support / change things in the future for the child being discussed.

Who comes to the meeting?

The people who will come to the meeting are the people who need to be involved to help make the changes happen. It could also be those who could offer help and support. Your referrer and co-ordinator will attend and any other people you would find helpful.

Where is it held?

The co-ordinator will help to find a neutral venue close to where you live, e.g. a Church Hall, Village Hall or a Children's Centre.

Review meeting

You may have a follow up meeting called a review. This will look at how the plan is working and any new issues that may have arisen.

Contact information

Telephone: 0300 300 5788

Email: familymeetingservice@centralbedfordshire.gov.uk