By Elizabeth Smull, Joshua Wachtel & Ted Wachtel
Waves of change have weakened the influence of family in modern societies, yet family remains the most critical element in our social fabric. A new approach for working with families — epitomized by the process of "family group conferencing" (FGC) or "family group decision making"å (FGDM) — seeks to strengthen this fabric by enlisting the collective power of families and their communities of care to address their own issues and solve their own problems. This paradigm has implications for professionals in a variety of fields, including social workers, police, court personnel, therapists, youth workers, day-care staff and educators.
Family Power offers practical guidance for engaging and collaborating with families, illustrated by anecdotes gathered from professionals in a range of settings around the world. The authors connect FGC/FGDM with the broader field of restorative practices, which holds that "people are happier, more cooperative and productive, and more likely to make positive changes when those in positions of authority do things with them, rather than to them or for them."