Agency workers’ perceptions of cross-system collaboration to support students in out-of-home care

Amy Gill, Grace Oakley

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Abstract

Children and young people in out-of-home care (OOHC) experience a wide range of educational issues at rates disproportionate to their peers. Collaboration between child protection and education systems is critical to addressing unique educational needs within this cohort. This article presents a qualitative case study
investigating child protection workers’ perceptions of their work with primary and high school educators in Western Australia. Methods included policy analysis and in-depth interviews with a purposeful sample of 11 Case Workers and Education Officers employed by The Department for Child Protection and Family Support in metropolitan, regional and remote locations in Western Australia. Overall, participants reported that a jointly established Memorandum of Understanding had helped strengthen mutual accountability for education planning to support students in OOHC. However, difficulties obtaining Documented Education
Plans and limited access to supplementary educational supports within both systems were considerable sources of tension. An adaptation of Whittington’s (2003) Two-Stage Model of Collaboration illustrates the hierarchical nature of the influences on cross-system collaboration in the present study. While the size of
the study limited its scope to one stakeholder group, the study offers frontline insights that may inform the development of future education and child protection agency initiatives.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)47-56
Number of pages10
JournalChildren Australia
Volume43
Issue number1
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Mar 2018
Externally publishedYes

Keywords

  • out-of-home care
  • education
  • child protection workers
  • cross-system collaboration
  • social policy

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