Jose, K., Taylor, C. L., Jones, R., Banks, S., Stafford, J., Zubrick, S. R., Stubbs, M., Preen, D. B., Venn, A., & Hansen, E. (2021). The Impact on Service Collaboration of Colocation of Early Childhood Services in Tasmanian Child and Family Centres: An Ethnographic Study. International Journal of Integrated Care, 21(2), 14. https://doi.org/10.5334/ijic.5581
Kim Jose, Catherine L. Taylor, Rachael Jones, Susan Banks, Joel Stafford, Stephen R. Zubrick, M’Lynda Stubbs, David B. Preen, Alison Venn & Emily Hansen.
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.