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NCJ Number: 217600 Find in a Library
Title: Co-Operating and Communicating: A European Perspective on Integrating Services for Children
Journal: Child Abuse Review  Volume:15  Issue:6  Dated:November-December 2006  Pages:429-439
Author(s): Ilan Katz; Rachael Hetherington
Date Published: November 2006
Page Count: 11
Type: Program/Project Evaluation
Format: Article
Language: English
Country: United Kingdom
Annotation: This article analyzes differences among European child protection systems and examines different approaches to child and family services integration.
Abstract: The analysis pointed to factors that contributed to better communication and more successful outcomes for child and family services integration. Specifically, high levels of material resources, both financial and staff facilitated the successful integration of services. Professional and staff time was considered the most important resource because sufficient time was necessary to establish effective working relationships between agencies. Also important to successful integration was the development of a professional and managerial culture that valued good working relationships with families and with other professionals. Finally, while organizational structure itself was not considered particularly important to integration goals, researchers discovered that different types of organizational structures could work well together if there was effective communication between agencies. Factors that hindered successful child and family services integration were identified as conflictual and defensive inter-professional relationships. Indeed, conflict between professionals hindered integration no matter how well organized the overall system of integration. The authors note that a child and family welfare system that focuses on risk may not be the best environment in which to validate the authority of practitioners to exercise judgments and to allocate the time necessary to facilitate effective interagency communication. Data were drawn from a series of research projects conducted since the early 1990s. All the research projects involved the construction of vignettes which described the details of a case. The vignettes were discussed by groups of practitioners in terms of how the case would have been dealt with in their system and in their locality. Group sessions were transcribed and analyzed according to emerging themes. Data were also gathered from relevant documents, such as laws and government guidance, published information on the numbers of children referred to child welfare agencies, and interviews with key informants in each system. References
Main Term(s): Child welfare; Interagency cooperation
Index Term(s): Services integration; United Kingdom (UK)
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