Since 2011, Northern Children’s Network has been operating within Beaconsfield Child and Family Centre as an Education and Care provider for the Beaconsfield community. Working within the strengths based, collaborative service delivery model that Child and Family Centres (CFCs) are known for, both services retain their autonomy, yet work collaboratively to coordinate community events (e.g. Book Week, Christmas events, Children’s Week), facilitate referrals (e.g. Early Childhood Intervention Service, support services, parenting programs), and provide support to children and families.
Through this relationship we have developed a strong, collaborative partnership underpinned by our shared values of trust, respect, support, and growth. There is a sense of commitment, shared purpose, and pride in the relationship – a recognition that we are working together to achieve positive change in the community. We are of the view that by working together we can provide opportunities for children and families that weren’t previously available in the community. Northern Children’s Network Team Leader Seb Tuttle agrees: “We share a close partnership in Beaconsfield due to the conterminous nature and the close bonds that have grown as we started out together in Beaconsfield. It’s sometimes hard to see what we do together because it has become a natural part of our lives.”
We have a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) in place that guides us to:
- work collaboratively
- put children at the centre of decision making
- promote inclusive leadership and teamwork
- be responsive to the needs of the community
- acknowledge the important role of parents and families, and work in partnership with them.
Furthermore, in 2018 the CFC developed a Working Together Agreement, which outlines a commitment from services and families to the values we consider important in working together effectively.
From a CFC perspective we see a number of strengths in our partnership, including: resource sharing; raising awareness of CFC services; building relationships with families; operational efficiencies; and strengthening our capacity to support families. We meet regularly to share information, plan, and reflect. We seek to proactively resolve any disagreements through an established process and see this as an opportunity for growth.
Moving forward we have identified opportunities to improve referral processes, build a culture of feedback, and better support school transition as priorities in continuing to improve outcomes for children and families in our community.
Stewart Bell (Centre Leader)