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No parent can do it alone. They need Collaborative Care.

Updated: Mar 8, 2023

✦ Interagency or inter-sectorial collaboration is something we all hear about. Whether it’s working on a specific project, or providing care for clients in your particular field.

It often means not working within our respective work areas, siloed from how our work interacts with other organisations, or other parts of people’s lives.

Is this something we really do? Do we work this way a lot of the time, or just when we need to?

We would like to introduce the term ‘collaborative care’ when thinking about care to support parents with disabilities. So often we hear the term ‘it takes a village to raise a child’ – a term that acknowledges the importance of other’s roles in the community in child raising, not only the parents.

However, there are often lots of social expectations around parents being able to do this on their own. When it comes to parents with disabilities, this is even more an expectation – that they need to show society that they can do this, by themselves. And if they aren’t able to, then there is social scrutiny as to whether they should be having children at all.

mother in wheelchair with pram
Collaborative Care assists parents with disabilities

The reality is that no parent can do it alone – we ALL need support in one way or another – in what whatever ever way that meets our needs.

Whether it’s about going back to work, and needing childcare, to having time out from parenting when a parent has postnatal depression, or needing support to bath or change babies because of the parent’s disability. Whatever the parental needs are, we need to be supporting them in the best possible way, and collaborative care can do this.

The Collaborative care model has been used mostly within the field of mental health. It came from people with mental health issues falling through the gaps between services, and needing to find a better way to meet the person’s needs.

When we think about families and parenting, there are often many services involved, depending on the point within the journey for each parent. Knowing how to navigate all these points can be very difficult, especially when it is a first pregnancy, or the parents have lots of challenges within their lives.

Knowing who each provider is, what they do and when you see them can be very tricky for many parents to be, and also for parents with a disability.

Download our free Pregnancy Journey Map to see the assistance provided from pregnancy through to delivery. This is helpful for parents with disabilities as they can see the links related to NDIS planning along the journey.

Our mission is for parents to be empowered to succeed, and supported by knowledgeable and skilled providers and services. In our May Brilliant article we spoke about our services, and how we support parents with disabilities. The aim of all our services is to improve collaborative care for these parents, so they don’t fall through the gap.

Collaborative Care planning has been defined as prioritising ‘the preferences and values of the person with lived experience of [mental health] issues”1.

Central to this is the family, carers and others in the development of the care plan along with providers. Many parents with disabilities have complex lives, juggling chronic health conditions, disability and other life aspects. Planning care into the future, and within a family life means planning care that takes account of these life complexities, and the specific needs as defined by the parent themselves.

Over the next few months, we will focus on aspects of collaborative care to better help parents with disabilities, but also providers work more collaboratively. Our Providers supporting Parents with Disabilities Network Facebook group aims to give providers a platform for better interagency collaboration and sharing of knowledge.

disAbility Maternity Care is holding a workshop on October 13th (so put it in your diaries), ‘Collaborative Care to support Parents with disabilities’ in Port Macquarie, NSW. This face-to-face event will provide both practical workshops and opportunities for networking. Register your interest here. The finalised program and registration form will be emailed to you.

If you would like to find out more, or have a question, contact us at

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disAbility Maternity Care


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