Community engagement and partnerships

Part six of the IncludED@OSHC learning journey

Giving a child with a complex disability the chance to engage with local community groups has many benefits.

Not only does it bring new experiences into the child's life, but it also enables your OSHC service to:

  • share resources with another organisation
  • promote your service
  • raise general awareness of how to include children with complex disabilities in the community.

Examples of organisations you could partner with include local football clubs, men's sheds and dance classes.

The National Quality Framework for education and care explains the standards for community engagement and partnerships your service should meet.

It spells out the standards in Quality Area 6 – Collaborative partnerships with families and communities: working with other community groups, schools, disability or care providers to improve the support provided to children with complex disabilities in OSHC.

Below, learn how to achieve and exceed the National Quality Standard.

How to partner with local organisations

There are many ways to team up with local organisations. Here are some ideas:

  • invite cultural groups to your service to show the children diverse backgrounds and recognise important events such as Reconciliation Week. Make these partnerships ongoing, rather than only coinciding with calendar events
  • invite community groups to teach the children new skills they would find interesting
  • invite adult disability groups to help lead an activity
  • take the children on an excursion to your local library for storytelling or to visit residents of an aged care facility
  • take the children to a local sporting club that offers all-abilities sports in a mainstream setting
  • explore partnerships that already exist between the school and community organisations.

If a child decides to be regularly involved in a particular group or activity, you can help them settle in with the group. This may include organising enrolment meetings with the family and community group and helping the child to get ready to go from OSHC to an afternoon activity.

How to partner with other organisations

By teaming up with other organisations, including those in the health and disability field, your service can better meet the needs of a child with a complex disability. Here are some ideas on how to partner with these groups

  • partner with disability organisations, such as advocacy bodies or disability support providers, to help them better understand specific disabilities and support needs
  • guide these groups on how to provide individual support to meet the needs of a child with a complex disability
  • partner with training providers to upskill your staff
  • explore existing relationships children and families have with disability support organisations, schools, care professionals and NDIS (National Disability Insurance Scheme) providers
  • build relationships with other organisations that work with the child and their family, so they can better understand the child's needs and develop a consistent approach to providing support.