Family Group Decision Making

What is it?
Family group decision making (FGDM), also called family group conferencing, focuses on the strengths of families and is a problem-solving process that gives families the chance to make important decisions together with their support system.


  • A family conference is organized by a trained facilitator who is independent of your situation.

  • The facilitator brings together your extended family (including friends) and supporting agencies to make decisions to create and carry out a plan.

  • Families can use family group decision making to resolve problems due to the out-of-home placement of a child, during divorce, or during a time when the care of an elderly parent needs to be decided. These are just a few examples.

    • The facilitator will set up and run the meeting but will not make any decisions about your family plan.

    • The plan is made by the family.

    • Lastly, the facilitator will write out your plan and distribute it to all participants.

  • The fee for the service is $75 per hour. 

  • Several counties offer the service for families involved with Child Protective Services (CPS) and the fees are covered by the county.

What are the key components?

  • Family Centered

  • Culturally Relevant

  • Strengths Based

  • Community Based


Who may attend?

  • Children/Siblings

  • Parents/Extended Family

  • Family Friends/Elders/Spiritual Advisors

  • Social Workers/ Service Providers

  • Probation Agents

  • Guardians/ Foster Parents

How do I find out more?
Contact Advocates of the Bemidji Area at 218-209-7000 or