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I: Collaboration <<>> Partnering <<>> Unified

At the basic
practice level, collaboration involves workers from different agencies or
programs working cooperatively to improve services delivery to shared clients.
The primary benefit is improved communication and problem solving. Collaborative
efforts are generally child specific, focusing on resolving conflicts,
communication issues, and coordination problems between programs. They are
program-centric in so far as the purpose of collaboration is to improve the
ability of workers to provide services within their program or to reduce
barriers to their delivering services in a manner consistent with the
procedures associated with those services.

Partnering at the
intermediate practice level involves opening the interface between two or more
programs that may be internal or external. The goal is to develop and deliver a
shared services or resource array the individual program cannot deliver. This creates
a derivative program drawing resources from the partnership participants. The
partnership is intended to achieve better outcomes for the shared clients of
the derivative program.

Collaboration and
partnering expand at the advanced practice level to incorporate a Unified
Commitment to practice excellence for children and families. It is not enough
for workers to collaborate to improve communication and to resolve services
issues and barriers. Nor is it enough for programs and agencies to partner in
order to initiate co-ventures or form new or derivative programs and services to
benefit children and families. These are both useful and necessary endeavors.
Nonetheless, anything less than a unified commitment to practice excellence is
a less than encompassing approach and fragments child protection for children
and families.

How it works.

At the basic
practice level, problems and issues between programs are resolved through
collaboration. This process is intended to improve services provided by each
program to children and families who are clients of both programs. At the
intermediate practice level, practice expands to dissolve the boundaries
between the programs, creating a partnership or derivative program providing
the same or new services array for the clients of the antecedent programs. Practice
expands at the advanced practice level beyond partnering to incorporate a
unified commitment to practice excellence wherein program structures disappear.
The needs and interests of the child or family being served is the sole
determinate of the available structure and services array.

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