New Research Proves Families Make the Difference in Protecting Children
American Humane Association
Comprehensive research released today by American Humane points to increased family involvement in the child welfare system as a viable solution for protecting children from abuse and neglect.
The research examines a process called Family Group Decision Making (FGDM) in which family members, community members, and others collaborate with child welfare workers to create a plan for the child or youth. Anyone who has a relationship with the child -- parents, kin, tribal elders, neighbors, clergy -- may all be included. The group works with child welfare administrators to make decisions for the child's safety and well-being based upon its collective experiences, strengths, and resources.
In the United States, FGDM is currently practiced in over 150 communities in 34 states. However, very little research has been published on the effectiveness of the process.
In response to the need for proven results, American Humane, which operates the National Center on Family Group Decision Making™, led an effort to compile the most extensive research to date.
The research also shows that FGDM can be used to create effective solutions for even the most challenging child welfare situations. FGDM works in situations of neglect, domestic violence, substance abuse, and sexual and physical abuse regardless of factors such as age, race, ethnicity, and level of involvement in the child welfare system.
"American Humane has long advocated FGDM as a way to achieve a more family- and community-oriented child welfare system. We hope this research will provide child welfare system administrators, policymakers, and social workers with leverage and ideas to implement a practice that is making a positive difference," says Lisa Merkel-Holguin, MSW, co-director of American Humane's National Center on Family Group Decision Making™.
For more information, or to contact American Humane Association, see their website at: www.americanhumane.org
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