HOSTING: Restorative Practice in Communities

The Restorative Practice Hosting Project

Is your family, or someone you love, involved with child protection services? Are you worried that your children or children you love will be placed permanently in the care of the Children’s Aid Society?

Family Group Decision-Making
Family Group Conferencing

In Family Group Decision-Making (also called “Family Group Conferencing”), at the point at which a child is about to become a permanent Crown Ward (that is, a ward of the Children’s Aid Society), a meeting is pulled together of the entire extended family and whatever supports they wish to have present. The Facilitator begins the meeting with a “strengths discovery” of the family (as in WrapAround) and the CAS outlines their safety “bottom lines.” All of the professionals then leave the room and the family is left to come up with a plan for the care of the child. If the plan meets the CAS’s safety requirements, it is adopted.

Family Group Decision-Making (FGDM) is a relatively recent, highly effective restorative process. It is becoming a legislated requirement in more and more jurisdictions around North America. For more on FGDM in Ontario, a web resource at the George Hull Centre for Children and Families is a good place to start. CLICK HERE

Would your Faith Community like to help?

Hosting is an ideal way for a faith community to live out its mission. Wouldn’t it be something if faith communities acted as hosts of reconciliation processes happening in their local communities?

Shalem and the International Institute of Restorative Practices (IIRP) Canada have embarked together on the Hosting Project, where faith communities of all faiths – Christian, Muslim, Hindu, Sikh, Jewish and other – act as hosts of restorative processes that happen in their local communities. Hosting connects deeply with themes of hospitality and sanctuary that are central to all of the world’s major religions.

Our aim? To encourage the use of Family Group Decision-Making – a restorative process happening right in your own community.FGDM meetings typically require space that has multiple rooms, a kitchen and a nursery, and they are best held at a neutral site local to the family.

Currently, Shalem and IIRP-Canada are currently partnering with Blue Hills Child and Family Centre, based in Aurora, Ontario, to provide hosting services for the Family Group Decision-Making meetings they run in the Central East Region of Ontario. Blue Hills organizes all of the FGDM meetings in this region, in partnership with The Simcoe County, York, Durham, Kawartha-Haliburton and Northumberland Children’s Aid Societies. We are also partnering with Community Justice Initiatives, which organizes FGDM meetings in the greater Kitchener/Waterloo area and much of the Central West Region of Ontario.

Watch this video to learn more
Read this sample brochure for faith communities (used in the Central East region).
Read this story about the hospitality and sanctuary of a congregation.

We are rapidly signing up host congregations, and more sites are needed. If you or your faith community is interested in becoming a host site, we would love to hear from you.

Central East Region
Stan Baker
[email protected]

Central West Region
Tim Havercroft
[email protected]

For other areas, contact:
Anne Martin
Director of Restorative Practice Services
[email protected]

Shalem provides an orientation for faith community volunteers and follow-up support, and ensures that all legal and liability issues are taken care of.

Shalem and IIRP-Canada have also developed and piloted processes for training faith communities to act as the hosts of Restorative Practice conferences that may happen in your local community. This program is also available to interested communities.