Date of Graduation

Spring 2016


Master of Arts in Communication



Committee Chair

Charlene Berquist


This study examined the experiences of volunteer Family Group Conference (FGC) facilitators for the purpose of understanding how they experience and manage their role in the FGC process. By focusing on the benefits and challenges of volunteer FGC facilitators, this research adds a new perspective to the limited literature on FGC facilitators. Semi-structured, face-to-face interviews were conducted with 11 volunteer Family Group Conference facilitators in order to create a deeper understanding of these volunteers' experiences. The Ecosystems Perspective and Uncertainty Reduction Theory created a framework for understanding the complex role of the FGC facilitator and allowed for a more detailed examination of their experiences. The findings from the research illustrate the rewarding, challenging, and emotionally-charged work of a volunteer Family Group Conference facilitator as well as the role communication plays in managing these experiences. Results also indicate that volunteer facilitators believe their presence as volunteers is comforting for participants in the FGC program and has a positive impact on the outcome of the conference. This research contributes to existing FGC and volunteer literature, and has implications for practice in the utilization of volunteers, as well as exposing issues that can be addressed to strengthen the process.


family group conference, facilitators, volunteers, communication, ecosystems perspective, uncertainty reduction theory

Subject Categories



© Rebecca Ann Saunders

Open Access

Included in

Communication Commons