Date: 16-07-2018

NEWS – INTESYS: How can we accomplish more together? – Part 2

'There are four magic points when you talk about integrated working:  a shared vision, time, sufficient support and guidance, and finally, action.'

Integrated systems is a complex term; don’t let the name put you off. Integrating early childhood systems helps reduce disparities in learning outcomes for vulnerable children and help professionals meet the diverse needs of children and families. They help practitioners, managers and policymakers accomplish more – together.

Though we know the benefits of integrating early childhood systems, it can be difficult to motivate systems to change. So, we asked the experts to explain the critical factors that motivate different early childhood organizations and services to work together. In the pilot 'Huizen van het Kind' (Homes of the Child) in Brussels, there are 2 levels to integrating systems according to Hester Hulpia of VBJK:

'The more general level, the steering group level overarching the whole of Brussels. Our story started already in 2012. Since then, we really worked on searching for a shared vision on integrated working: Why are you working together? For whom? What’s the added value for you, your organization, the policy, but also especially for children and parents? Once this was clear and all partners were heading towards the same goal, we had to search for a clear and efficient structure. However, this process takes time and the guidance provided by external organizations (such as VBJK) was really valued by all partners. In this guidance we searched for the expectations, the assumptions, the structure and a clear planning.

On the local level – the same magic words come up. All local partners should head for a shared vision. But this takes time! And, the local teams in the current setup are just starting. Here we feel the need for action and really searching for opportunities to work together. However, at the local level we have to wait a little longer to see how the things are going and growing.

In order to facilitate cooperation in the INTESYS project we looked for the win-win. At the overarching Brussels wide level we organized focus groups: What are crucial milestones and why? What are important future dreams, what’s on the bucket list? This is important information, especially for the chairman and the coordinator of the Huis van het Kind Brussels in order to develop in the right direction.

At the local level, we are starting a learning group on a theme that all members believe is crucial: participation. This was decided in close collaboration with the coordinator of the Huis van het Kind Brussels. We decided to have 5 network ‘moments in which we will work towards a shared vision on participation on the level of the network. Because participation is a fundamental aspect of integrated working.'

Still not sure what Integrated Systems for early childhood services are? Be sure to brush-up on what the term means through our series of INTESYS interviews.

Download the INTESYS Toolkit here!