The MSSS-MELS Agreement for the Complementarity of Services Between the Health and Social Services Network and the Education Network was implemented in 2003.
This agreement establishes joint principles and commitments to ensure the complementarity of their respective services, notably relating to two areas of intervention: services for children with disabilities and their parents, and services for children with adaptation or learning difficulties and their parents. For example, close to 30,000 school-aged Québec children have been identified by the education system as having disabilities or adaptation or learning difficulties. Most of these students are followed by health and social services specialists. The present research documents the implementation and impact of the Agreement as regards the two areas identified above. More than 250 administrators and service providers, in both networks and from different regions of Québec, were consulted for the study. Fifty-six parents were questioned on the complementarity of services received and their level of satisfaction regarding these services.
The principles of the Agreement remain poorly known by administrators and service providers, and are seldom integrated into practice.
Analysis of the testimonies provided shows that the effects of the Agreement vary depending on the milieu and the clientele involved. Indeed, there is a lack of uniformity when it comes to complementarity of services for children with impairments or experiencing difficulties in Québec. Furthermore, the principles of the Agreement remain poorly known by administrators and service providers, and are seldom integrated into practice.
However, the study identifies some examples of dynamic collaboration between the two networks that have given rise to concrete support actions. For their part, the parents indicate a lack of information regarding available services. Information is largely unavailable and often diffuse. They emphasize the need for guidance and access to support structures that would encourage their involvement and ensure complementarity of services. Scientific literature and the research data confirm the urgent need for clear agreements between the two networks in order to establish practice guidelines. These observations reinforce the importance of supporting collaborative efforts and providing conditions conducive to complementarity of services.
Sylvie Tétreault, Université Laval
Call for proposals
Deposit of the research report: October 2010