What is Family Group Decision Making?

Family Group Decision Making (FGDM) describes a variety of practices to work with and engage children, youth, and families in safety and service planning and decision making, including Family Group Conferences (FGC), Circles of Support (COS), and Family Team Meetings (FTM). CPS began using FGDM in the conservatorship stage of service in 2003 and expanded the practice into the investigative stage in 2007 and into the Family-Based Safety Services stage in 2009.

How It Works

First, CPS will tell families they can help make a plan. Then, CPS will set up a meeting. The family helps pick the time, place, and who attends. Families can invite anyone who is important in their children’s lives.

A Family Team Meeting happens most frequently while children live with their families. It’s a quick way to deal with safety concerns.

A Family Group Conference happens most frequently when children have been removed from their families for a short time. It’s up to the family to decide if they want to have one.

Basic Values

  • All children should be free from harm.
  • Children are best raised in families.
  • Families should care for their children.
  • Families can make safe choices.
  • Children are safest when families and CPS work together.
  • Families must be respected.
  • Families are the experts and can learn about their own strengths and needs.
  • Children should be removed only when there is a strong risk of harm.

Why Family Group Decision Making?

  • Families know best about children and their needs.
  • There is less trauma for children.
  • Culture, dignity, and values are respected.
  • Fathers and families are involved more often.
  • It can find and use community supports as available.

To learn more, contact your local CPS office or DFPS Family Group Decision Making staff.

FGDM Evaluation Links:

Family Group Decision Making gets help from Casey Family Programs. Casey Family Programs is a private foundation that works with the Texas Department of Family and Protective Services (DFPS).

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