The guidance document clearly places FGCs as central in ensuring that wider family are engaged with where there are concerns for the welfare of a child and there is a likelihood of the authority initiating legal action. FGCs are mentioned and explained in detail and are identified in the pre proceedings process as important in enlisting wider family involvement.
The guidance even mentions the accreditation framework for FGC services which we are currently rolling out and identifies the need in some cases for parents to access support in engaging with child protection services and mentions FRG's work in this regard.'Enabling wider family members to contribute to decision making where there are child protection or welfare concerns, including where a child cannot remain safely with birth parents, is an important part of pre-proceedings planning. Wider family meetings, such as family group conferences are an important means of involving the family early so that they can provide support to enable the child to remain at home or look at alternative permanence options for the child. Local authorities should consider referring the family to a family group conference service if they believe there is a possibility the child may not be able to remain with their parents, or in any event before a child becomes looked after, unless this would be a risk to the child.'