Studies, Reviews and Research

The family conferencing: A ground-breaking practice for community based child protection in Kenya

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This research illustrates the findings of a retrospective analysis of 73 Family Group Decision Making (FGDM) conferences conducted in Nairobi, Kenya, between July 2005 and January 2008.  The conference addresses the wellbeing of 73 children referred as welfare cases by the Nairobi Children Remand Home, a temporary government residential adjudication or final disposition by the Nairobi Children’s Court. Families were invited to participate in the decision-making process engaging both the maternal and paternal sides together with various partners from their local communities.  This was done in response to concerns of a legislative gap of the Kenya Children’s Act 2001 (cap 586), which recommends speedy exit of children from Remand Homes without stipulating the exit strategies to be followed.  As a result, the child repatriation order used to be carried out with inadequate case assessment and ineffective institution-centred case planning.

Since no testing had ever been done locally on family conferencing models, the research question analysed the relevance of the FGDM in an African context and evaluated its impact on the target group of children 24 to 54 months after their family reintegration through the conference by asking:  “How does the Family Group Decision Making Model respond to the risk factors of children in need of care and protection held in the Kenyan Juvenile Justice System and how does it contribute to strengthen their resiliency within the family and community?”


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