Supporting people in their right to make their own decisions is what drives Hedda van Lieshout in her work and her life. She is the managing director of Eigen Kracht Centrale in the Netherlands. After she finished her study of orthopedagogy, she worked in hospitals in Italy as a pedagogue with children and their families. In the Netherlands, she did research for the Dutch National Institute for Care.
In 2006, Hedda joined Eigen Kracht Centrale, the organization in the Netherlands that is responsible for running Family Group Conferences (FGC) and restorative conferences. Eigen Kracht means ‘one’s own strength/power’, and the name emphasizes that people are able to make their own plan, together with their family and network of friends.
Part of Hedda’s job is to assist organizations, governments (local and national) and movements to start working with the principles of restorative practices. Over 11,000 conferences in the Netherlands and extensive research show that these practices work. Another part of her job is to train citizens in becoming Eigen Kracht coordinators and to train professionals to make the mind shift needed to change their attitudes and ways of working.