LAWFUEL – International Law Newswire – More than 18 years ago, in New …

LAWFUEL – International Law Newswire – More than 18 years ago, in New Zealand, Maori community leaders and government officials gathered to develop progressive child welfare and youth justice policy, now known as “family group decision making” (FGDM).

This year, the American Humane Association and 500 international delegates will recognize New Zealand for its significant contribution of legislating family group decision making during its 11th annual FGDM Conference in Washington, D.C., June 6-9, 2007. Family group decision making is an approach to working with families involved with the child welfare system that engages and empowers those families to make decisions and develop plans for themselves. Since its inception, FGDM has been implemented in more than 35 states and 22 countries.

On the afternoon of Wed., June 6, American Humane will host an award ceremony to bestow recognition upon and express our sincere appreciation of the people of New Zealand for the gift of the Family Group Conference that they have so generously shared with the world. During the formal program, American Humane will honor His Excellency Roy Ferguson, New Zealand Ambassador to the United States and Marie Connolly, representing the Ministry of Social Development, Wellington, New Zealand.

New Zealand Ambassador to the U.S., Roy Ferguson, comments, “It is with great pride that I accept this award, but on behalf of those who really deserve it the Maori people from whose culture the concept originated; those in government who had the courage to embrace a new direction in child welfare and youth justice; and the professionals who have had the vision and the tenacity to use family group conferencing for the benefit of New Zealand’s children.

“I would like to thank the members of the American Humane Association for this honor and also for facilitating ongoing dialogue on family group conferencing, for I know that while the concept started in New Zealand, we have benefited from the experience of others and welcome opportunities such as your present conference for ongoing sharing.”

“We concur with the vision of New Zealand policy that enables a child’s family to be primarily responsible for the direction of their children’s care, with assistance provided as necessary from government. Given such, we will continue to build on the strides that we have made in helping spread family group decision making as the policy to transform child welfare systems nationwide,” said Marie Belew Wheatley, president and CEO of American Humane. “This conference not only continues these efforts but recognizes the forefathers of family group decision making.”

About the American Humane Association
Founded in 1877, the American Humane Association is the oldest national organization dedicated to protecting both children and animals. Through a network of child and animal protection agencies and individuals, American Humane develops policies, legislation, curricula and training programs to protect children and animals from abuse, neglect and exploitation. The nonprofit membership organization, headquartered in Denver, raises awareness about The Link® between animal abuse and other forms of violence, as well as the benefits derived from the human-animal bond. American Humane’s regional office in Los Angeles is the authority behind the “No Animals Were Harmed”® End Credit Disclaimer on film and TV productions, and American Humane’s office in Washington is an advocate for child and animal protection at the federal and state levels. American Humane meets the strong, comprehensive standards of the Better Business Bureau’s Wise Giving Alliance and has been awarded the Independent Charities of America “Best In America” Seal of Approval. Visit to learn more.

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