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Wijkteams jeugd en gezin: Hoe teams werken, leren en ontwikkelen integreren in de dagelijkse praktijk


Roel van Goor ,

Roel van Goor, PhD is senior research fellow and teacher at Inholland University of Applied Sciences. In 2012 he completed his post-graduate research in the field of philosophy of education with a dissertation on the relation between the (uncertain) status of scientific knowledge-claims and educational thinking and practice (Van Goor, 2012).
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Pauline Naber

Pauline Naber, PhD is professor Lifeworlds of Youth at Inholland University of Ap-plied Sciences. She published on youth policy, youth care and lifeworlds of youth (a.o. Coaching homeless youth by reinforcing their social networks, 2010 with Sap & Bijvoets; Lifewords of Youth, 2013 with Hermes & Dieleman).
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Neighbourhood support teams: How teams integrate working, learning, and developing in daily practice

On 1 January 2015, responsibility for the availability and accessibility of all youth care in the Netherlands was decentralized from the national and subnational levels of government to the municipal level. Neighbourhood support teams for youth and family play a pivotal role in the organization of the municipal youth care system. This transition aimed both to transform the way youth care is carried out and to achieve cost savings. Youth workers in these teams have been assigned a new task that demands a new type of professionalism and a different way of working: away from an institution-centred and supply-oriented approach and towards operating proactively in the community and offering integrated support and care that responds to what young people and families really need.

How are these professionals handling this transition and how can teams offer young people family care that provides quality and achieves result? This article provides pointers for municipalities and team managers responsible for overseeing this transformational process. The starting point for our practice-based research was Amsterdam, where we investigated how innovative and successful neighbourhood teams in the field of care – community care, psychiatric care, youth care, youth protection – have already made a similar transformation.

In the City of Amsterdam, prevention and lighter forms of youth and family support are provided by 27 Parent and Child Teams (PCTs), consisting of Parent and Child Advisors (PCAs) who operate throughout the city in neighbourhoods and at schools. During the pilot phase in 2013 and 2014, we examined how the learning processes of the PCTs and PCAs can be organized in such a way that an ongoing process of learning and development is able to occur. We provided an overview of literature, conducted interviews, and held an expert meeting. A crucial part of the research consisted of in-depth interviews with respondents from best practice units in the field of professional care and welfare. We identified several recurring principles in the effectiveness of the working and learning processes of self-regulating teams. In this article, we highlight three central principles: Learning as team learning, Learning in dialogue and Learning from monitoring and self-monitoring.

Learning as team learning: Learning in neighbourhood teams implies more than educating individual workers: it requires a focus on the team as a whole. First, the tasks of the team need to be clear in terms of procedures, central guidelines and the expected results. Secondly, a joint process of searching, reflecting and debating is needed to bring about a shared interpretation of the team’s tasks, vision and ambitions, and this is also a prerequisite for effective team learning. Providing time and space for the ongoing process of learning contributes to effective team learning and team development, and ultimately leads to higher levels of performance.

Learning in dialogue: Whatever form team learning may take, the learning process needs to be closely connected to everyday practice and experience. Alongside formal types of schooling and training, the evaluation of and reflection on everyday field work is essential, if only to identify any possible gaps in the team’s expertise. Different forms of case-based learning can provide the perfect opportunity for the reflection that is needed. The best learning experiences will occur when successes as well as failures are discussed. This requires a “just culture” in which those at all levels of the organisation feel confident enough to share openly the functioning and results of the teams.

Learning from monitoring and self-monitoring: Recognising diversity in teams and embracing failures as a value in the process of learning does not rule out clear criteria for success. On the contrary, together with building confidence and providing safety, setting clear output criteria is a mechanism for effectively governing the standard of work of competent professionals. Both self-evaluation by teams, essentially using feedback from network partners and clients, and performance dialogues at the managerial level contribute to an ongoing process of learning.

Our research hints at a value-oriented approach to professional working and learning. This approach can be contrasted to the rule-based approach, which has been dominant in the field of youth care and family support in past decades. The results of our research seem to indicate a paradigm-shift in professional learning that has implications for all levels of the organization: professionals; teams and their managers; and the organization as a whole. Further research in the workplace is necessary in order to gain further insight into the ways in which these newly established neighbourhood teams learn and simultaneously improve their own performance. 



Na de decentralisatie van de jeugdzorg vervullen wijkteams in Nederlandse gemeenten een centrale rol in de zorg voor jeugd. Ze zijn aanspreekpunt voor gezinnen in de wijk en bieden ondersteuning en hulp aan ouders, kinderen en jongeren die een vraag of probleem hebben in hun opvoeding en ontwikkeling. Wanneer speciale of langdurige zorg nodig is verwijzen ze door, of vragen ze om ondersteuning van experts. Professionals in wijkteams vervullen een nieuwe opdracht, die ook vraagt om een nieuw type professionaliteit en een andere manier van werken. Niet meer instellingsgebonden en aanbodgericht, maar proactief opererend in de wijk, integrale steun en zorg biedend, aansluitend bij wat gezinnen nodig hebben. Hoe maken professionals zich deze opdracht eigen en hoe bieden teams kwalitatief goede zorg aan jeugd en gezinnen? Dit artikel biedt aanknopingspunten voor gemeenten en teamleiders die voor de opgave staan dit te realiseren. Vertrekpunt vormt ons praktijkonderzoek naar de manier waarop reeds bestaande innovatieve en succesvolle wijkteams in de zorg (buurtzorg, psychiatrie, jeugdbescherming) die omslag hebben gemaakt. Hiermee hebben we enkele terugkerende principes kunnen identificeren die werkzaam zijn bij het inrichten van werk- en leerprocessen van zelfstandig opererende teams. Drie centrale principes komen in dit artikel aan de orde: leren als teamleren; leren in dialoog; en leren van (zelf)monitoring. Het onderzoek wijst op een verandering in het veld van zorg en welzijn: van regelgestuurd naar waardegericht werken en leren. Niet regels en protocollen met betrekking tot handelen staan daarin centraal, maar de vraag wat met de zorg en steun wordt gerealiseerd voor cliënten. Vervolgonderzoek moet bijdragen aan het verder ontwikkelen van deze nieuwe leer- en werkprocessen in het jeugddomein en inzicht geven in de impact ervan op de kwaliteit en het resultaat van de zorg voor jeugd op de langere termijn.


How to Cite: van Goor, R. and Naber, P., 2016. Wijkteams jeugd en gezin: Hoe teams werken, leren en ontwikkelen integreren in de dagelijkse praktijk. Journal of Social Intervention: Theory and Practice, 25(1), pp.4–27. DOI:
Published on 22 Mar 2016.
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