The impact on service collaboration of co-location of early childhood services in Tasmanian child and family Centres: An ethnographic study
Introduction: There is a global trend towards place-based initiatives (PBIs) to break the cycle of disadvantage and promote positive child development. Co-location is a common element of these initiatives and is intended to deliver more coordinated services for families of young children. This paper examines how co-locating early childhood services (ECS) from health and education in Child and Family Centres (CFCs) has impacted collaboration between services.
Methods: This ethnographic study included 130 participant observation sessions in ECS between April 2017 and December 2018 and semi-structured interviews with 45 early childhood service providers and 39 parents/carers with pre-school aged children.
Results: Service providers based in CFCs reported that co-location of services was facilitating local cooperation and collaboration between services. However, insufficient information sharing between services, prioritising client contact over collaborative practice and limited shared professional development remained barriers to collaborative practice. For parents, co-location improved access to services, but they experienced services independently of each other.
Discussion and Conclusion: Co-location of ECS in CFCs contributed to greater cooperation and collaboration between services. However, for the potential of CFCs to be fully realised there remains a need for governance that better integrates service policies, systems and processes that explicitly support collaborative practice.
Publication titleInternational Journal of Integrated Care
Department/SchoolMenzies Institute for Medical Research
PublisherUbiquity Press Ltd.
Place of publicationUnited Kingdom
Rights statement© 2021 The Author(s). This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License (CC-BY 4.0), which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited. See http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/