Family Group Conferencing (FGC) is a decision-making model where clients with their social network formulate their own plan. There is little experience with FGC in mental health care. We studied the outcomes of 41 conferences in a public mental health setting in the north of the Netherlands. We interviewed 312 respondents out of a total of 473 conference participants. In 33 cases, it was possible to obtain scores from 245 respondents on scales ranging from 0 to 10 about the situation prior and after the conference on three outcome measures, namely the quality of: (1) social support, (2) resilience and (3) living conditions. In the 33 cases, t-tests and multilevel analyses indicate on all of the three outcomes measures significant positive changes after the conferences. On average, the scores on the quality of social support (5.04–6.73), resilience (4.09–6.32) and the living conditions (3.73–6.64) had been increased since the conferences were organised. The results are modest but remarkable. That the impact of FGC is not more substantial can be explained. The clients referred to a conference in this particular study, mostly had a limited network and few recourses from whom little support could be expected.

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European Journal of Social Work
Department of Psychiatry

de Jong, G., Schout, G., Meijer, E., Mulder, N., & Abma, T. (2016). Enabling social support and resilience: outcomes of Family Group Conferencing in public mental health care. European Journal of Social Work, 19(5), 731–748. doi:10.1080/13691457.2015.1081585