Many possible solutions have already been mentioned in previous sections of this paper. Better information circulation, referrals and coordination across disciplines appear to be key elements of effective early intervention. Integrated service delivery models, service hubs or one-stop-shops were also mentioned as possible ways of integrating these key elements. The more human aspects involved in community building, fostering new interdisciplinary relationships and enabling cross-cultural exchanges were also discussed as significant factors without which collaboration cannot work. In that regard, social work scholarship provides insight into the meaning of collaboration:
The term collaboration is used in two ways. The common meaning of the word, reflecting its Latin roots, is that of ‘working together’. In the literature on human services organisations and inter-organisational relations, collaboration also has a more specific meaning, that of the formal joining of structures and processes between organisations. It is part of a spectrum ranging from the informal to the formal, beginning with cooperation (as in informal information exchange), through coordination (as in development of formal protocols) to collaboration and ultimately, integration, which involves the formation of new organizational structures….
Improving the family justice system’s early intervention capacity will likely involve a commitment to better collaboration. It may also require a transformation in the way Ontarians approach family challenges and problems. These are elements to consider in thinking about possible solutions.
The possible solutions mentioned in this paper involve both informal and formal rules. Some involve legal procedural issues, professional responsibility issues or additional regulation of certain workers’ services. Others involve, for workers, more socializing with workers from other disciplines, and for users, having the courage to confront family challenges as soon as they arise. Solutions may also be mandatory or optional, in the case of information sessions and mediation services for example. In addition, solutions may require the use of different technologies to respond to different users’ needs. Finally, time and resources also determine what solutions can realistically be implemented.
With these possible responses and implementation considerations in mind, the LCO looks forward to receiving feedback from users and workers on what responses may work for them. The LCO is interested in hearing participants’ views about short, medium and long term responses that may be implemented to improve the family justice system. It is also interested in hearing about what current practices in Ontario could be considered great examples for the rest of the province. Although the LCO will examine systemic issues related to the allocation of resources, it will also explore solutions that may be implemented with resources currently allocated to the family justice process.
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