Traditionally government departments have worked independently in providing services to children and families. Too often services are fragmented and too narrow in their focus. To achieve a broader, better quality of service, government departments need to work together and with community organizations, agencies, families and individuals. Community involvement is essential in this process. By working in partnership, government and communities are better able to identify problem areas and gaps in services, identify solutions and plan prevention strategies.
Collaborative, community-based planning brings together all the people and organizations who have responsibility for children. The work of communities in responding to child hunger is a good example of how well this functions. With government support, organizations and individuals have come together within communities to target resources – including buildings, volunteer help, equipment donations and money – and develop community-based responses to child hunger. In each community the approach used is different and reflects community needs, resources and expertise.
Although poverty is the largest single risk factor for children and youth, there are other factors to be addressed including injuries and conditions leading to hospitalization and deaths. Poverty and social dependence are complex issues, and result from many factors within society and an individual’s life. Effectively addressing these issues requires the partnership of communities, agencies, governments and individuals. Each member of our society plays a role in that society. Our efforts are strongest when we work together to address the serious issues facing children.