Interprofessional collaboration in Finnish residential child care; challenges for RCC workers and mental care practitioners working together

Eeva Timonen-Kallio, Researcher, University of Eastern Finland, Finland 

Juha Hämäläinen, Researcher, University of Eastern Finland, Finland 

Eila Laukkanen, Researcher, University of Eastern Finland and  Chief Department of Adolescent Psychiatry University Hospital of Kuopio Finland      

Many children taken into care tend to be in need of psychiatric treatment as well as child protection services, and thus the professional expertise of both systems must be coordinated in their care. The aim of my presentation is to present experiences and perceptions generated in the child protection and mental care collaboration between two professional groups. The main interest is to investigate the Finnish situation; how practitioners with different professional orientations in two different systems reflect the chances for working together. The focus on investigating the interprofessional collaboration ‘on the borders’ is empathically in the child protection and foster care perspective. Based on the analysis of interprofessional focus group interviews (eight interviews with 17 practitioners) in Finland, it is claimed that both sides have unrealistic expectations and perceptions of the ‘other’ provider’s facilities to help high-need children. The study also indicates that the collaboration assumes an equality of status and responsibilities between the professionals that does not always exist amongst residential child care practitioners and mental care professionals. The analysis suggests that RCC needs better explicated clear therapeutic and pedagogical framework and  more empirical research to strengthen the interprofessional competencies. I will also reflect these findings in European context.

Key words: residential child care, child welfare, foster care, interprofessional work, child protection,

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