Principle 6: Services will build strong partnerships and networks

Caravan park children's groupPart 4 of a series of posts based on nine principles for supporting permanent residents of caravan parks which are relevant to a range of other contexts. The first post introduces the context and lists the nine principles.

A social worker in a rural community health centre became aware of the needs of two local caravan parks, and advocated on behalf of the residents to develop a coordinated response to service provision. The partnerships led to a number of initiatives in the park and a successful funding application for a 12-month pilot project.

Participants at the forum identified the importance of networking and forming interagency partnerships. The range of issues facing park residents means it is unlikely that any one service could successfully support residents on their own. Services that go regularly to a park and are well known by residents can often assist other services to access residents. In particular, services could come to the park at the same time as activities were being offered to children or adults and meet residents informally or share information.

A child and family health nurse comes to a park on a regular basis when another service is conducting a playgroup. The playgroup involves most of the children under five in the park and so the nurse is able to meet parents in a relaxed setting and visit them individually after playgroup. She is then able to refer them to other specialist children services as needed.

Implications for practice include the following:

Staff will develop networks that allow them to access a wide range of information and services

When working across a number of local government areas or other government boundaries it can be difficult to keep up to date with all the available services. Staff need to develop networks that allow them to quickly find out the information they need.

Services will assist residents to fast track appointments

Residents of caravan parks can be transient so waiting a long time for appointments can mean that needed services are not accessed. By building strong networks with other agencies services can sometimes fast track appointments or arrange a quick response.

An allied health service has set aside a number of appointments each week to allow quick access to transient groups of people (including residents from a local caravan park).

Services will work in conjunction with Indigenous services

Where there are Indigenous residents of caravan parks (and generally Aborigines and Torres Strait Islanders are overrepresented in parks) it is important that services work in conjunction with Indigenous services and develop strong networks with them. Staff should know local Indigenous workers, involve them where appropriate, and support Indigenous services to address the needs of Indigenous residents.

If you liked this post please follow my blog (top right-hand corner of the blog), and you might like to look at:

  1. 9 principles for supporting families and communities
  2. Principle 1: Services will make building strong relationships with residents a high priority
  3. Playgroups as a foundation for working with hard to reach families
  4. “I try and make it feel more like a home” – families living in caravan parks
  5. Building relationship between caravan park (trailer park) residents and school
  6. Families with children living in caravan parks

About Graeme Stuart

Lecturer (Family Action Centre, Newcastle Uni), blogger (Sustaining Community), environmentalist, Alternatives to Violence Project facilitator, father. Passionate about families, community development, peace & sustainability.
This entry was posted in Families & parenting, Working with communities and tagged , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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