Back to top

Network Group Conference

Author: Anne
Published Date: 17 February 2010

A method including multiple perspectives on interventions towards socially vulnerable people – focusing on resources in their personal network.

A Network Group Conference is a meeting where family, friends and acquaintances to a man or woman who is in a difficult life situation, discuss and propose interventions that can improve his or her situation. It is an attempt to include the individual’s resources and establish support and motivation through personal network.

The aim of the Network Group Conference is to activate the network around an individual, who is in a difficult life situation and is considered socially vulnerable. Through the Network Group Conference a personal plan for the individual is developed.

The network and the individual suggests:

• how the individual’s situation can be improved

• what initiatives should be initiated

• where the network and the individual believes that public partners can help

• what resources the network can provide and how they might help the individual.

The Network Group Conference follows three phases:

1.The preparation phase, which is before the actual meeting

2.The actual meeting – The Network Group Conference, which is implemented in three stages.

3.Implementation and follow-up phase, which is after the actual meeting.

It is important to emphasize, that Network Group Conference, is a decision model, not a form of treatment.

The Network Group Conference is facilitated by an independent coordinator, who is not a part of the personal network, neither a professional working with the individual on a daily basis.

Social Development Centre SUS conducted a pilot project of implementing Network Group Conference from 2003-2005 with YMCA’s Social Work in Denmark. During that period, 16 homeless people participated in one or more Network Group Conferences. Since 2005, Social Development Centre SUS has developed the method and tested it on other target groups with great success. By now, the method has been used for people with mental illness, prisoners who are about to be released, young criminals and socially vulnerable children and their families. The method is often requested by professionals.

A homeless man describes his experience of Network Group Conference in these terms: “One of the things that made me quite high is that it has been wonderful, that my family has been happy to see me as well and have enjoyed spending time with me. I was the centre of attention, it felt so good. That normally only happens, when I’m facing a judge.”