Wraparound services in Alberta : government messages, civil society action, and client impacts
Schmidt, Edgar T.
MetadataShow full item record
Subjectcivil society organizations; client impacts; critical discourse; education; government rhetoric; wraparound services
The provision of school based wraparound services is highly promoted by the Ministry of Education in Alberta. Alberta Education is leading significant changes to the education system with the ultimate goal of improving educational outcomes for all students and to increase high school completion. A number of students require supports and services beyond what schools are able to provide; inviting and enlisting civil society organizations in the provision of wraparound services is a policy priority. Through a mixed methods approach I analyze government rhetoric about wraparound services using critical discourse analysis, a survey, and focus groups of civil society organization (CSO) leaders to understand their perspectives about wraparound services and inter-organizational collaboration. Finally, through a semi-structured interview, I approach three heads of households to gain an in-depth understanding of their experiences as they receive supports from civil society organizations. The mixed methods approach in this project provided much deeper insight than that of a single approach. I used an embedded design approach (Creswell & Plano Clark, 2011), embedding survey and focus group research methods along with interviews within an overarching critical discourse analysis framework. Government rhetoric about wraparound services and inter-organizational collaboration is predominantly directive, heavily emphasizing how collaboration ought to be carried out. In the process of discourse analysis, I found that Alberta Education (AE) rhetoric emphasizes compliance to principles of inter-organizational collaboration, minimizes the role of parents, and minimizes the cost and effort of improving collaborative practices and wraparound services. Through a survey research method, I found that CSO leaders indicate their general agreement and organizational alignment with principles of collaboration as stated by AE. However, CSO leaders raise important policy and funding questions of wraparound service provisions. The survey sample size was very small and CSO leaders were invited to participate in focus group research as a way of providing insight into their ideas about wraparound services and inter-organizational collaboration. The focus group findings were analyzed using discourse analysis techniques, as well. The heads of households I interviewed provided rich perspectives about their experiences as clients of CSOs. Their experiences highlighted positive outcomes regarding their children's schooling and their connection with CSO services. They also shared negative experiences that highlighted gaps in wraparound services, specifically aspects of the education system. My findings point to a continued willingness on the part of participating CSO leaders to work to improve wraparound services and inter-organizational collaborative practices. My research recommends that specific policy shifts on the part of AE and the Government of Alberta could improve outcomes for children, youth and families in the following ways: a) The Government of Alberta models inter-departmental collaboration to demonstrate effective inter-organizational working relationships. The process of collaborating and negotiating across multiple organizations requires specific knowledge and skill sets that may not be readily available in organizations, particularly CSOs. Government modeling of collaboration could demonstrate the required knowledge and skills to carry it out, which in turn could be shared with other organizations; b) Roles and responsibilities for coordinating services should be developed as discrete skill sets within organizations. In order to develop the capacity for effective coordination and collaboration, the government should provide interim funding to organizations. Such funding would ensure that direct services to children and families would not be sacrificed; c) Finally, the government holds significant authority and power in relation to legislative and funding ability. Rather than telling organizations about how to do collaborative work, the government should provide clear outcome statements that schools and organizations could achieve jointly.
Showing items related by title, author, creator and subject.
McGrath, Susan (Canadian Institute of Planners, 2000)This paper explores the contemporary practice of social planning in Canada. In the context of a diminishing social welfare state, the momentum for planning around social issues is generated by local voluntary ...
Bergie, Brett (2013-09-17)This study examined the civic properties afforded by Twitter and considered whether hashtag communities achieve issues-pluralism in order to facilitate at least some viewpoints to popular expression otherwise absent from ...
Web-scale search and virtual reference service : how Summon™ is impacting reference question complexity and reference service delivery Meredith, William (Internet Reference Services Quarterly, 2013-07-17)Web scale discovery tools like Summon™ are becoming the norm at academic libraries across North America. How much do these tools simplify discovery? What changes do they bring to the provision of reference service? At Royal ...