Building Integrated Connections for Children, their Families and Communities

· Cambridge Scholars Publishing

About this ebook

Research and practice shows that many vulnerable children and families face more than one challenge and require more than one intervention. However our service system has evolved historically to deal with one thing at a time or to provide services from multiple sources. This lack of integration can have a devastating effect on some families where key information or warning signs are missed. Coronial and judicial inquiries constantly stress the negative impact of a ‘siloed’ approach to services.

Many researchers, practitioners and policy makers have struggled to address this issue. This book has been compiled from a series of presentations given at the 2010 Children Communities Connections conference in Adelaide. Over 300 professionals from NGOs, state and federal departments and academics from all states in Australia attended and focused on three key ideas: what do we know about these families and children, what are we doing to help them and what could we do better. Papers covered a range of topics from neurobiology, to service redesign and family engagement.

Here we have a snapshot of some of the most promising programs and research being undertaken in Australia. It provides a platform for starting conversations on the need to focus on the child and family in the context of their whole life, the need to cross service and professional boundaries and the need to change the way we as professionals do things to improve outcomes for families. It is a book that captures the challenges, the opportunities and the hope for the future.

*Includes contributions from more than 40 practitioners, policy makers and researchers who work in community services, education and health for state, federal government and non government sectors.

About the author

Karl Brettig is Manager of Salisbury Communities for Children in South Australia. The Salisbury site has been successful in developing a range of innovative child and family support initiatives including an integrated child and family centre at Ingle Farm. Together with a team of child and family support stakeholders he convened the Children Communities Connections conferences in 2008 and 2010.

Margaret Sims is Professor of Early Childhood at the University of New England. Her research interests focus around family support and community-based services for young children and families. She has an extensive publication record in this area. She is currently working with colleagues around Australia on developing a suite of postgraduate courses for those working in integrated early childhood services.

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