What we do
The Eigen Kracht Centrale is striving for a society based on participation and mutual self reliance of citizens, where citizens remain in charge of their own life, especially when dealing with organizations and government bodies.
Important in the vision of the Eigen Kracht Centrale:
Everyone is part of society and everyone can participate.
Everyone has a say and remains in charge of his or her own life.
Everyone gets support from their own social network: family, friends, neighbors, etc.
Nobody is aline in the world and in case of difficulties and problems it is important to widen the circle of the main-person to their own social network: family, friends, neighbours, colleagues…
Especially when problems arise that might lead to involvement of various (social care) institutions.
To implement this vision in daily life, the Eigen Kracht Centrale has introduced Family Group Conferencing, developed in New Zealand: a decision making process for citizens, resulting in a plan made by their own people.
Several organisations in Europe are busy getting Family Group Conferences (FGC) implemented in their country. This European Network are united in the European FGC Network.
Article by Rob van Pagée about Transforming Care: The new welfare state (2014)
In the Netherlands, a Family Group Conference is called an Eigen Kracht-conference. This translation emphasizes the essence of this work method: using the own strength and resources of people to make a plan and make decisions for the future and thus keep the directorship of their lives in their own hands.
The underlying idea is very simple. If you have problems in your life that cannot be easily solved, you ask your social network to think things over with you. Everyone has a social network – large or small, close or less close – regardless of what happened in the past. Most people solve their problems or concerns this way. But when people have become isolated and think that no one cares about them anymore, or when they are too ashamed to turn to their own people, an Eigen Kracht-conference may be the answer. An independent coordinator will help them to organize an Eigen Kracht-conference.
Different thinking about families
Eigen Kracht-conferencing offers a very basic approach to citizenship. Actually, it is about improving cooperation, between citizens in their daily life and the social care system. It involves a different way of thinking: Families are bigger than parents and their children and they know themselves best. It is the key that children maintain connections wherever they live. For agencies it is important to demonstrate respect for family and society should defend kinship groups against unnecessary intrucions. Being supported by their own people makes citizens become stronger, resulting in less demands on Stat provisions, regain their place in society and take on more responsibilities. Families have proven in over 10.000 Eigen Kracht-conferences that they are capable of directing their own affairs. In short, it is about strengthening the civel society.
Although Eigen Kracht-conferencing is something that most people are familiar with in their own lives, introducing it is not easy at all, because it is adverse to the interest of established institutions. Eigen Kracht-conferencing is not a new ‘trick’ that can be added to what social care has to offer, it is a challenge, a change in paradigm: “People who, at first, were regarded as the problem, prove to be the start of the solution” (Slot, 2008). The Eigen Kracht-conference reverses the usual work method and power balance in social care.
The Eigen Kracht Centrale mission is to promote its vision, make and keep Eigen Kracht-conferences available for alle citizens by:
- Advocating the right of citizens to direct their own lives
- Recruiting, educating and coaching independent community Eigen Kracht-coordinators
- Promoting the deployment of Eigen Kracht-conferences
- Monitoring the quality of Eigen Kracht-conferences
- Exploring new areas in which citizens can use their own strength
- Creating conditions for regional, nationwide and international implementation
- Initiating research and relevant data acquisition
- Developing and innovating direction of demands