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Taking care together

A dual key worker approach for families experiencing complex and multiple problems
PhD ceremony:dr. A.G. (Arjen) van Assen
When:May 12, 2022
Supervisors:dr. W.J. Post, prof. dr. H.W.E. (Hans) Grietens
Co-supervisor:dr. J. (Jana) Knot-Dickscheit
Where:Academy building RUG
Faculty:Behavioural and Social Sciences
Taking care together

Families experiencing complex and multiple problems often participate in family-focused services. Studies have shown that children often have poor outcomes and only participate to a limited extent in these services.  To improve care for children growing up in families experiencing complex problems, some studies have suggested the use of a dual key worker approach. In this approach combined services are provided by a family-focused professional and a child-focused professional. In this study we investigated such an approach in the Netherlands, combining the family-focused programme Ten for the Future and the child-focused programme Child and Youth Coaching. The study shows that child and youth coaches are able to promote participation of children in care. However, for some groups (e.g. very young children, unmotivated children) realising participation was more challenging. Furthermore, a lack of disclosure about the family situation makes it more challenging to adapt services to the needs of children. Overall, most children were positive about the help they received. They emphasised the personal and long-term approach was helpful in building trust and realising change. This findings in this study suggest that children participating in the dual key worker approach improve their psychosocial skills. However, children still experienced considerable emotional and behavioural problems at case closure. Although the demarcation of the target group and the treatment of behavioural problems can be improved, this study shows Child and Youth Coaching is a promising programme for improving psychosocial skills and participation of children.