In the early years, multi-sectorial approaches are widely considered an important reaction to global challenges. Multi-sectoral approaches including integrated parenting support, nutrition, health, social protection, child protection and education address multifaceted problems. ‘Integrated services’ offer a response to the need for well-aligned and well-coordinated interventions in addressing the complex problems that children and their families face.
The Early Childhood Workforce’s webinar, hosted October 26th, focused on such services. While the design, governance, finance and delivery of early childhood systems make an impactful difference on children and their families, there are also many barriers to taking on integrated work.
Jacqueline Barnes, Director of Institute for the Study of Children, Families and Social Issues, Birbeck University of London and Jan Peeters, Director of VBJK, Centre for Innovation in the Early Years at Ghent University discussed their experience with integrated services during the 60 minute webinar.
Peeters discussed the importance of a shared vision in integrated services. While financial resources are essential to making strong integrated systems work, often obstacles arise from a lack of shared vision between stakeholders.
The panel also mentioned the importance of a satisfied, rewarded and well-trained staff. Barnes stressed the fact that, “when staff turnover is low, quality is high.” Peeters emphasized need for more knowledge sharing and professional development stating that, “practitioners in the early years must be given chances to see how other practitioners work, and learn from one another.”
The webinar provided honest and insightful perspectives on the challenges and opportunities in integrating early years services. Often, there are more barriers to integrated work than enablers; however, the strong interest from many policy makers can help make it work.
To listen to the full recording of the Early Childhood Workforce Initiative’s webinar, and to find many additional resources offered by our panel and webinar organizers visit the webinar section of the Early Childhood Workforce Initiative’s website.