The pilot is supported by the Nevat Greenhouse Research Team at The Hebrew University. So far, the research indicates an improvement in the level of child protection for the children in families that undergo the FGC process and formulate a family plan. It is evident that most families also implement their plan, and the model improves their relationship with welfare authorities and openness to receive aid from supporters and professionals. Study participants expressed a high measure of satisfaction from undergoing the program.
Quotes from study participants:
“Olim LaDerech is the thing that really helped me. Without it, I would be shut in my room in despair. The program gave me strength, real strength. It lifted me up. Despite that I look normal, inside I feel as low as you can feel, but I am trying lift myself up.” (Teenage Girl)
“The conference moved me in ways I can’t even describe…everyone was so invested in helping the family. There was a feeling that the family was really eager to start the process and begin rehabilitation. As if we had reached out a hand to them and they took it.” (Social Worker)
Additional evaluation studies from Israel and abroad demonstrate how family conference processes contribute greatly to the safety of at-risk children and youth, preventing their removal from home. The majority of conferences conclude with the family finalizing a plan approved by professionals that includes alternative treatment avenues. Generally, families and the professionals involved in the process report great satisfaction with finalized plans. The family’s active participation in formulating their own plan increases their sense of collective responsibility for the children’s future and their motivation to execute it fully. Parents who participate have stated their involvement increased their children’s sense of safety and helped establish their parental authority. Thanks to the FGC program, extended family members became more involved and more active in the family’s daily life. However, evaluation studies also indicate the challenges in implementing family plan. To overcome these difficulties, a model was developed for implementation in Israel, providing families with a flexible range of services and additional supporting factors, along with a budget to help bring plans to fruition.