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Pennsylvania’s first exposure to Family Group Decision Making (FGDM) occurred in 1999 and in 2006 now includes over forty of the sixty-seven counties actively exploring meaningful ways to engage families in planning and service delivery. The PA FGDM process is a strengths-based empowerment model designed to join the wider family group, including relatives, friends, community members, and others, to collectively make decisions to resolve an identified concern.

FGDM in Pennsylvania is primarily based on aspects of the Family Unity Model and the Family Group Conferencing process established in New Zealand. FGDM conferences in Pennsylvania generally include extensive preparation; an opening and sharing of strengths, concerns, and resources; private family time; family presentation of the plan and plan acceptance by the referring agency; and plan implementation and monitoring.

With nearly half of Pennsylvania’s sixty-seven counties actively implementing FGDM, it signals a significant shift in how families are engaged in decision making to resolve concerns. Many counties report the infusion of strength-based, family centered practice across their communities and the joining together of providers, government, families, and communities through the implementation of FGDM. Counties also report the mobilization of the innate power within families and the collaborative power of systemic partnerships.

Please follow the links on the right hand side of this page to learn more about FGDM in Pennsylvania.

Contact Eliza White, MSW for more information.