Family group conference

Family Group Conference is a mediated meeting between family members and the professional practitioners where they closely work together to make decisions that best meet the needs of the child.

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SBU Enquiry Service

Consists of structured literature searches to highlight studies that can address questions received by the SBU Enquiry Service from Swedish healthcare or social service providers. We assess the risk of bias in systematic reviews and when needed also quality and transferability of results in health economic studies. Relevant references are compiled by an SBU staff member, in consultation with an external expert when needed.


What systematic reviews are there on the effect of family group conferences?

Identified literature

Table 1. Systematic reviews with low/medium risk of bias

Included studies Population/Intervention Outcome
Nurmatov et al 2020 [1]
Inclusion criteria: Both interventional and natural experimental studies were eligible, but they had to have a comparative group.
Within-groups, cross-sectional studies were not included.

Included studies: Search resulted in 2.680 unique records. 32 papers were included in the systematic review. 7 of which also included an economic evaluation.
Population: Children and young people (0–18 years of age) who are either at risk of entering, or already in, out-of-home care and/or their parents/carers/guardians.
Their definition of care does not extend to included informal care arrangements or those that do not specify continued statutory involvement (e.g. adoption.

Intervention: Any service involving shared decision-making meetings between families and professionals that included the following components:
1) Organized meeting, 
2) Action plan and 
3) Collaborative or family-led.
Primary outcomes: Rates of out-of-home placement
Reunification rates
Family empowerment
Family satisfaction.

Secondary outcomes:
Adverse effects
Economic data
Authors' conclusion:
“The review does not provide conclusive evidence as to how shared decision-making meetings affect care entry, re-entry, family reunification, family empowerment or satisfaction, compared with usual services. The lack of strong evidence is as least partially attributed to a lack of high-quality quantitative and comparative evaluation studies and considerable variation in published results.”
“There was not strong evidence on the cost-effectiveness of shared-decision-making meetings, however, there are encouraging indications that shared decision-making meetings could be cost saving and potentially cost-effective.”


  1. Nurmatov UF, C. Mann, M. Scourfield, J. Impact of shared decision-making family meetings on children's out-of-home care, family empowerment and satisfaction. What works for children's social care, Cardiff University. [cited 2020 May 19]. Available from:
Published: Report no: ut202025 Registration no: SBU 2020/253
Page published