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By Joanne M. Alderson
The buzz words in children’s services today are ‘collaboration’ and ‘partnership’. They roll off the tip of the tongues of professionals in this field. But what exactly do these words mean in practice?
This article by Joanne Alderson seeks to answer this question based on her experience and the experience of others. Such experiences provide insight into the challenges of partnership and provide an inspirational message to Health, Education and the many other Support Services to take a step out into the community and build collaborative relationships.
Before moving to New Zealand I was very fortunate to have worked in Integrated Services for Children and Families in the UK as a member of what was at that time a new multi-disciplinary Surestart Team established in 2001.
The Surestart initiative allowed a number of multi-agency professional teams to work in new innovative ways as part of a government scheme aiming to improve the health and well being of children before and after birth and through to the stage of starting school.
I was introduced to the challenges of partnership work, an exciting idea which allowed me to think much more creatively than in previous roles. In the pursuit of building effective, collaborative partnerships with other services to support children and families, the Surestart programme governed by the local Education Authority allowed all of us in the team to experiment with different ways of working. Finding our creative powers unleashed we went about this with enthusiasm.
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