European Child & Adolescent Psychiatry

, Volume 27, Issue 12, pp 1539–1549 | Cite as

Professionals’ views on the development process of a structural collaboration between child and adolescent psychiatry and child welfare: an exploration through the lens of the life cycle model

  • Helena Van den SteeneEmail author
  • Dirk van West
  • Griet Peeraer
  • Inge Glazemakers
Original Contribution


This study, as a part of a participatory action research project, reports the development process of an innovative collaboration between child and adolescent psychiatry and child welfare, for adolescent girls with multiple and complex needs. The findings emerge from a qualitative descriptive analysis of four focus groups with 30 professionals closely involved in this project, and describe the evolution of the collaborative efforts and outcomes through time. Participants describe large investments and negative consequences of rapid organizational change in the beginning of the collaboration project, while benefits of the intensive collaboration only appeared later. A shared person-centred vision and enhanced professionals’ confidence were pointed out as important contributors in the evolution of the collaboration. Findings were compared to the literature and showed significant analogy with the life cycle model for shared service centres that describe the maturation of collaborations from a management perspective. These findings enrich the knowledge about the development process of collaboration in health and social care. In increasingly collaborative services, child and adolescent psychiatrists and policy makers should be aware that gains from a collaboration will possibly only be achieved in the longer term, and benefit from knowing which factors have an influence on the evolution of a collaboration project.


Collaboration Mental health Child and adolescent psychiatry Life cycle model Multiple and complex needs Adolescent girls 


Compliance with ethical standards

Ethical standards

All human and animal studies have been approved by the ethics committee of the University of Antwerp/University Hospital of Antwerp and have, therefore, been performed in accordance with the ethical standards laid down in the 1964 Declaration of Helsinki and its later amendments. All persons gave their informed consent prior to their inclusion in the study.

Conflict of interest

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag GmbH Germany, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Collaborative Antwerp Psychiatric Research Institute-Youth (CAPRI)University of AntwerpAntwerpBelgium
  2. 2.University Centre of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry (ZNA-UKJA)University of AntwerpAntwerpBelgium
  3. 3.Department of Clinical and Lifespan Psychology (KLEP), Faculty of Psychology and Educational SciencesFree University Brussels (VUB)BrusselsBelgium
  4. 4.Faculty of Medicine and Health SciencesUniversity of AntwerpAntwerpBelgium

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