The New Zealand Family Group Conference Confidentiality Protections: Lessons Learned and an Application in U.S. Child Welfare Systems

Lisa Merkel‐Holguin, Allan Cooke, Denise Evans, Kelly L. Beck - Family Court Review


With the adoption of statutes, policies and administrative guidance since the late 1980s, statutory child welfare agencies around the world have been implementing practice approaches to resolving and addressing child abuse and neglect concerns that involve extended family systems in decision making and planning. One such approach is the family group conference (FGC), enshrined in New Zealand law. This article provides a historical context and describes numerous provisions of the family group conference that protect participants and the proceedings. It then describes applications of FGC‐like approaches in the United States where practice models and policies—not laws—guide the implementation of such approaches.