Name of practice
Academic Collaborative Centres – Transformation Youth
Type of practice
Public engagement; Governance
7. Secure societies - protecting freedom and security of Europe and its citizens
Social science & humanities; healthcare
Academic collaborative centres – transformation youth (ACCs) are long-term partnerships between one or more (local) youth services, universities, (local) governments, and clients. The program is funded by the Netherlands organization for health research and development (ZonMw) and supports 12 ACCs in the field of youth care which are spread across the country. The centres aim at bridging the worlds of the academia and youth care practice, thereby, on the one hand fostering an evidence-based practice of youth care professionals and on the other hand facilitating a more needs-oriented research practice. The main purpose of the ACCs is to improve knowledge generation as well as the transfer of both knowledge and skills between practitioners, policymakers, researchers, the education sector and clients and, as such, improve youth services.
The goal of the academic collaborative centres is bridging the gap between science, governance and practice, by connecting organisations and different disciplines that work in the field of youth care into long-term collaborations. The centres strive to be both inclusive and diverse in their partnerships. Next to youth care services and related organisations, also other types of stakeholders such as governmental bodies and universities participate. The AAC-transformation youth focusses explicitly on including clients (children) and their parents in all stages of research (co-creation) and in decision-making processes. As clients of youth services are diverse in socioeconomic backgrounds, ethnicity, culture, gender, age, etc., the ACC’s intend to incorporate diversity aspects in all activities.
Targeted information is disseminated through meetings and training sessions with participants of ACC’s in which the organisers provide project updates and receive feedback. ZonMw also organises specific training workshops in which the different ACCs in the Netherlands are able to learn from each other’s experiences and progress.
At this stage, the focus is mainly on setting up the centres, research, and other activities. Researchers, practitioners and clients discuss their views on problems and their perspectives on future research. Roles of stakeholders, and in particular the role of clients and their parents, is reflected upon. Planning focuses on short-term goals to facilitate quick adaptations in response to changing needs and to better involve governmental bodies.
Practitioners, researchers, local government officers, and clients realise that they have different needs, concerns and perspectives. Thus, they collaborate on both big (research-directed) and small (day-to-day) issues. Though practitioners try to be as flexible as possible, they are limited by government regulation. Researchers improve their methods when possible, and offer to compensate for the time needed for research with activities the researchers can do for the practitioners.
The program academic collaborative centres – transformation youth just started recently. However, projections on outcomes can be made based on results from other academic collaborative centres that have been in the field of youth health care and public health since 2005. In these ACCs strong relationships and partnerships were realised between different organisations involved in (preventive) healthcare, strengthening local networks and improving healthcare facilities. Moreover, healthcare professionals were offered practice-oriented methods and instruments, and relevant evidence- and practice-based knowledge was generated to substantiate and support the policy formulation process.