Briefing paper

Early childhood provides a critical opportunity for early intervention and prevention, but barriers to accessing services prevent children and families – often those with the greatest need – from gaining their benefit.

Professionals can make their services more acceptable and accessible to parents/carers by building partnerships with them that involve collaborative practices and shared decision making.

This policy brief focuses on the nature and importance of partnerships between parents and professionals. Three types of partnerships are discussed:

  1. partnerships in the helping relationship
  2. service co-design partnerships, and;
  3. partnerships involving parents as co-workers.

Key messages:

  • How practitioners/services view parents has a significant impact on the ability of practitioners to engage parents and to help them to address the challenges they face.
  • A shift is required from a ‘professional as expert’ model of service delivery to a partnership model that acknowledges and incorporates the expertise of professionals and parents.
  • A partnership approach is necessary for engagement, particularly with families experiencing vulnerability.
  • The onus is upon professionals and services to design and deliver services that will engage and retain families experiencing vulnerabilities more effectively and ensure greater use of services.
Publication Details
Access Rights Type:
Policy Brief 32