Integration of children’s services essential to breaking cycle of deprivation

Integration of children’s services essential to breaking cycle of deprivation

A new report – edited and produced by the University of Aberdeen - has taken a hard look at current levels of integration in UK children's services.

A two-day seminar was recently held in Ulster to review how existing practices and policy – in education, health and social care – could be better integrated in Scotland, Northern Ireland and England.

Dr Joan Forbes, Research Coordinator at the University's School of Education, edited the new publication, which draws on the papers presented during the seminar.

"Integration of children's services is seen as essential to break the cycle of deprivation in which many families are trapped," said Dr Forbes. "But, as the seminar demonstrated, many problems remain to be solved if different professions and different agencies are to work together effectively. 

"A challenge often overlooked is that different practitioner groups use different discourses and practices in the way they interpret and carry out the task of working together to support children and young people." 

The two-day seminar, the second in an ESRC (Economic and Social Research Council) series, was held at the University of Ulster. It brought together researchers and policy makers with those working in education, health and social care, including voluntary agencies and professional associations. They examined tensions in the discourses and practices of inter-professional and interagency working, and identified opportunities to build collaborative research networks.  

The seminar related research publication: How service integration is operating in practice in the Scotland, Northern Ireland and England and Wales policy contexts: ESRC seminar 2 Proceedings has now been published in the Research Papers series of the University of Aberdeen.

"This second publication shares knowledge and insights gained of the practical issues involved in developing inter-professional relationships and presents thoughtful and challenging analyses of recent developments in creating integrated children's services," added Dr Forbes. "It will be of interest to a wide audience of practitioners, managers and leaders, academics and policy-makers in the fields of education, health and social care."

Paper 1 in the series: The Research and Policy Discourses of Service Integration, Interprofessional and Interagency Working: ESRC Research Seminar 1 Proceedings, was also previously published in the Research Papers series of the University of Aberdeen.

Copies of both reports are now available from the seminar series administrator at the School of Education, University of Aberdeen. Contact: href="mailto:jennifer.boyd@abdn.ac.uk">jennifer.boyd@abdn.ac.uk</a> 

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