Working in partnership

Involving the children, family and whānau - every step of the way.

What does working in partnership really mean?

Partnership means working alongside the family and whānau, not without them. Practitioners will work closely with children and families to enable them to lead the change in their lives.

Why is it important?

Working in partnership means practitioners getting to know the children, their family and whānau they are working with. Building a trusting relationship allows for the family to talk openly the about concerns and issues they are facing. Only then can we make a plan which addresses the whole situation and focusses on the strengths and needs of the child, family and whānau.

What does it look like in practice?

Practitioners and professionals working in partnership will demonstrate these key characteristics:

  • work together and actively participate – this includes the children, family/whānau and practitioners
  • share decision-making – everyone makes key decisions together
  • recognise different expertise and roles – everyone involved has different skills and experience which complement each other
  • share and agree aims and processes – everyone involved knows how they will work together
  • purposeful engagement – setting aims and goals to manage problems
  • negotiate – finding common ground and coming to an agreement
  • communicate openly – being clear, open and honest with everyone involved
  • have mutual trust and respect – so everyone involved feels safe and believes each other can make a difference.

How do I support my staff to have a partnership approach?

There needs to be correspondence between management action and the notion of partnership. The management culture, leadership and organisational resources influence practice at all levels of service systems alongside the direct supervision and management of individual practitioners.

Some of the things to look at having in place are:

  • model working in partnership within your own agency
  • putting in place effective supports and supervision
  • drive and enthusiasm of practitioners and managers
  • attitudes and beliefs about service provision
  • expectations of change and outcomes
  • organisational culture, structure, and flexibility
  • leverage value and accessibility to meet needs
  • investing in staff to attain the right skills and qualities.

How do Children’s Teams work in partnership?

Children’s Teams work together in partnership with families and whānau to support them to make changes to their way of life, harness their strengths, achieve their goals and help their children achieve, thrive and belong.

It is voluntary to participate in a Children’s Team. The family/whānau agrees to be supported and to have personal information shared to help them achieve the goals set out in their plan.

Lead Professionals first builds an open, trusting relationship with the child, family and whānau. They work to establish a relationship of trust and respect with the family and whānau. They make decisions with them, not for them. The whānau are involved every step of way.

This plan is centred on the needs of the children and focussed on helping the family and whānau to meet their needs. The Children’s Team works closely with the child, family and whānau to develop a plan.

We actively seek feedback from the child and their family/whānau to improve what we do. Read more about how Children's Teams work.

What resources can help me work in partnership?

Read more about the Family Partnership Model and the report by Superu: