Developing a listening culture

Y Bont is a charitable organisation who works to meet the requirements and to provide support for children and young people who, for whatever reasons, are or are at risk of being separated from their families. To achieve this Y Bont has developed a number of services –CWLWM is a Family Group Conference project since 1992.

Cwlwm – promoting and strengthening the voice of families in the work of planning for the future of children through Family Group Conferences

The Cwlwm project has been developed to offer children, young people and their families the opportunity to discuss various options about the future care and welfare of children.

Families are referred to the Cwlwm service by social workers, or through self referrals or other agencies via Families First projects.

The referral can be due to a number of reasons including:

  • family under stress and needing a plan of support
  • a need to create a plan to protect the child
  • alternative carers for the child to be explored by the family
  • contact arrangements between different family members
  • child or young person offending
  • school problems

The meetings, which are as informal as possible, are arranged by the Cwlwm Co-ordinator. They are held at neutral venues and include all the people that are important to the child and family in question, such as relatives, friends, neighbours and anyone close to and interested in what is happening to the child.

The main aim of the meeting is to enable the family to make a plan for the future based on the needs of the child and develop a positive way ahead for the family. Sharing information is an important part of the meeting, and the family will also be given time to have a private discussion within the meeting with no professional workers present.

The Cwlwm Co-ordinator is an independent facilitator between the family and other related agencies and makes sure that the family are given the necessary support to enable them to attend the meeting, and make their plan.

We receive referrals to coordinate approximately 100 family group conferences in North West Wales each year. We also support family group conferencing schemes in other areas. The Cwlwm scheme also offers training in the field of family group conferencing.

We are a nationally recognised project and are members of the All Wales Family Group Conference Network. Our meetings follow the model of three parts – information sharing, private family time, feedback – family sharing their plan.

Quotes by Cwlwm service users

“It was nice to meet our grandson’s father for the first time.”

“It was a great help to have people there who were concerned about the child, but who weren’t too involved in the situation.”

“Before the meeting we weren’t too sure how things were between the parents and the child. We came to learn more about the problems, and by talking about them we have been able to give them more help and support.”

“The meeting gave me another chance to see my family, which was very good.”

“The meeting was well-organised, and the location was very suitable.”

Quotes by social workers

“The timing of the tea break was excellent… there was so much tension in the room, but then the tea arrived and everybody started moving around the room and talking to each other.”

“I was afraid things would break out into a row, but I’m really glad that they were able to discuss properly.”

For further information please contact us on 01286 881620, or email

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