A protocol for interagency collaboration and family participation: Practitioners’ perspectives on the Client Network Consultation
Interagency collaboration has many advantages, but seems hard to realise in practice. In Belgium, the need for collaboration between the practitioners in the field of child welfare and child psychiatry, especially for children and adolescents with complex health care needs, was identified. Children with complex health care needs require coordinated care and collaboration between the different sectors in child mental health care (child welfare, child psychiatry, disability care). The authors have developed a standardised protocol based on the wraparound principles, which support interagency collaboration with family participation, named Client Network Consultation (CNC). Focus groups evaluated the CNC by eliciting practitioners’ views on the structure, content and impact of collaborative interagency protocols with family involvement. Thematic analysis revealed four core themes: (1) Empowering the child and the family; (2) Utilising the strength of the collective; (3) Being considerate versus constructive a dilemma for participants in CNC; and (4) The structure of a protocol offers opportunities and challenges. Results of the study offer implications for daily practice. Several challenges for interprofessional (IP) practice in the complex field of child and adolescent mental health care are described. The value of the CNC protocol to engage families in a clinical process is also discussed.