For more information:

Contact the Family Group Decision Making Director at:

Ms. Emily Linkenheimer
The Prevention Network

270 Ohio River Blvd.
Baden, PA 15005

P: 724.869.2222 Ext 220

C:  724.413.3503

F:  724.869.3155

Contact Your Caseworker At:

Beaver County Children & Youth Services

1080 8th Avenue
Beaver Falls, PA 15010
(724) 891-5800

Contact your Juvenile Probation Officer at:

Beaver County Juvenile Services Division

Beaver County Courthouse
810 Third Street #1
Beaver, PA 15001
(724) 774-8870

Family Group Decision Making (FGDM) is a strength-based approach to give you and your family a voice when trying to resolve identified concerns with the Beaver County Children & Youth Services (BCCYS), Beaver County Juvenile Services division (BCJSD), and/or the Truancy Intervention Program (TIP).  FGDM is a voluntary process where friends and family are brought together for a family conference. This empowers families to engage in their own strengths to create the best possible environment for the children.

Benefits of FGDM

  • You and your family are the primary decision makers. No one knows your family better than you!
  • Families make the planning — not the agency! We are a guide. By doing this, families are more likely to follow a plan since they made it.
  • The conference allows extended family members, friends, referral sources and providers to all be on the same page.
  • Family strengths are the base and tools to resolve concerns.
  • Faster closing time for agency involvement.

How FGDM Conference Works

If you decide to participate in the Family Group Decision Making process, you will be asked to sign a consent form before meeting with a FGDM Coordinator. The coordinator will make all necessary arrangements for your FGDM meeting. You will then decide who to invite (preferably both sides of the family), a convenient and neutral place to have the meeting, a time to meet, and food during the meeting. The FGDM Coordinator will guide you through your decisions and provide food for the conference at absolutely no cost to the family.

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FAQs about FGDM

Who will know about my family’s involvement?

Only those invited to the FGDM conference will know about your family’s involvement. Your family members, friends, other supports, and the agencies providing support to your family will be asked to respect your privacy and confidentiality. However, there is ONE exception: if during the FGDM process there is mention of alleged neglect, abuse or threats of violence toward oneself or another, the mandated reporter(s) present would have to report what they heard and/or observed.

Who comes to a FGDM Conference?

We believe that you and your family decides who is part of your “framily,” the combination of friends and family you feel closest to. The invitation list may include: relatives, friends, and additional supports that care about your children, as well as services providers such as the referral source who works with your family. Our goal is to have more family and friends present than agency members, as this is a family affair and not an agency meeting.

How are invited guests prepared prior to the Conference?

All invited guests are contacted by our coordinator prior to the conference to prepare them as to what will happen during the day of the conference. Strengths, concerns, and roles individuals can play to support the family and children during the conference are all discussed with our coordinator. Ground rules are reviewed with each participant and agreement to these rules is obtained from each invited guest. If someone in unavailable to attend the conference, they may attend via speakerphone or in writing.

What happens at the Conference?

The first part of the conference is information sharing, where strengths and concerns are presented. Information about various supportive services and resources that could benefit your family are also shared at this time. Then, bottom line concerns that affect the well-being of your children and keep you involved with the agency are reviewed. After that, your family will have private time when you and the family will speak freely without agency involvement. During this time, you will also prepare an action plan to address the bottom line concerns. You will be given as much time as need to complete this plan. Once finished, you will go over the plan that you created for family-worker approval. Revisions may be necessary, but when accepted your plan will ultimately become the action plan for your work with Beaver County Children & Youth Services, Juvenile Services and/or Truancy Intervention Program.

How will we know if the plan is working?

We will schedule a follow-up meeting within 30-60 days after the conference to track progress and determine if the plan is working. If the referring agency is in the process of closing the case, then a follow-up interview will not be scheduled.

How can I get involved with the FGDM process?

The first step is to inform your family worker that you are interested in having a FGDM conference, so that a referral can be made. If your family worker gave you information about FGDM, then they may already feel that FGDM would benefit your family. Please feel free to contact your family worker or Carol Britton, Coordinator for Family Group Decision Making (FGDM) in Beaver County, at (724)869-2222 x220 or by e-mail at if you would like further information.