Why is this important
As senior leaders and partners of the Area Partnership we are interested in strengthening our shared understanding of the barriers experienced by children and families leading the lives they want. For children and young people to thrive they and their families need to experience connection (to family, friends, community), have access to learning and employment, have access to crisis and other support services and to be part of the decisions that impact on them (about themselves and the services they need).
Research demonstrates that those families that are most in need of child and family support services are also the least likely to use them (Centre for Community Child Health, 2010). Traditionally services referred to some families as ‘difficult to engage’ whereas the evidence shows that it is the service system that creates barriers to participation. Collectively we can change this.
A common experience of social disadvantage is the feeling of not being heard (Peel, 2003). Children benefit from being listened to as valued citizens in their own right (Tranter & Pawson, 2001). Involving service users in the decision making of organisations leads to more effective and sustainable services, ensuring the investment of additional time and effort pays off. (Briggs and Lenihan, Co-design: Toward a new service vision for Australia?, Public Administration Today, Jan-March 2011).
“Often services view family difficulties and dysfunction as an intergenerational problem that is complex and difficult to break. It may be worth considering that the way our services have traditionally been provided actually contributes to these difficulties. This clearly puts the onus back on services to accept that it is not only families that need to change.”
Pritchard P, Purdon S, Chaplyn J, 2010: Moving Forward Together: a guide to support the integration of service delivery for children and families.
Organisation and Staff self-assessment tools