Integrated working between services for families, in fields such as education, health, youth welfare, employment and criminal justice, has been tried in different European contexts. The goal has been to improve support for children and families, and to potentially reduce inequalities.
"Inter-agency working in Europe and the Uk to support vulnerable young children and families" is the title of a new article by ISOTIS researchers Jacqueline Barnes and Edward Melhuish (University of Oxford), published in the Encyclopedia on Early Childhood Development.
According to the authors, the inter-agency work has been promoted as a way to provide joined-up solutions for families who are likely to experience multifaceted problems, that are inadequately addressed by traditional separated services. For example, when services work separately, families may be involved in multiple assessments, with replicated explanations to many different professionals in different locations.
The authors highlight that agencies working in collaboration, with a shared vision, a common location, and (ideally) a common governance structure, can be responsive and efficient in supporting children and parents, and reducing inequalities.