My name is Sheila. I work as an Independent Advocate for the Family Group Conference Service (FGC).
What is the role of the Independent Advocate for FGC?
Independent FGC Advocates encourage and support children and young people to get their views, wishes and feelings across at their FGC. Your wishes may not always come true but you still have the right to be heard.
How does it work?
Once I am appointed as your advocate, I would meet you two or three times before the day of the FGC to help you prepare. We would work together on your views, wishes and feelings and how you would like them to be presented at the meeting. They can be written down as a statement and you can decide whether you’d like to read it out yourself or I can do this for you. You might prefer not to have a prepared statement but give your views to the meeting yourself.
I would still support you at the FGC to make sure that your voice is being heard and listened to. Usually, you would be given the choice on whether you’d want to attend the FGC or not. Even if you do attend, you don’t have to be in the meeting room all the time or at all; you are free to come in and out. If you don’t want to attend but still want your wishes and feelings to be heard, then I would meet up with you again after the FGC to let you know the decisions that your family came up with.
Who makes decisions?
Being independent means that I don’t make decisions for children and families, nor do I write reports or assessments.
I’d only be involved with you for a short time up to the Family Group Conference meeting and my involvement would end after the meeting, unless there is and an FGC Review meeting.
An FGC Review is meeting is held to check if the decisions and agreements that were made by both the workers and the family have been followed through – this includes you as well! I will support you through the review if needed.