[Social network analysis of interdisciplinary cooperation and networking in early prevention and intervention. A pilot study].
ABSTRACT Child protection can only be successfully solved by interdisciplinary cooperation and networking. The individual, heterogeneous, and complex needs of families cannot be met sufficiently by one profession alone. To guarantee efficient interdisciplinary cooperation, there should not be any gaps in the network. In addition, each actor in the network should be placed at an optimal position regarding function, responsibilities, and skills. Actors that serve as allocators, such as pediatricians or youth welfare officers, should be in key player positions within the network. Furthermore, successful child protection is preventive and starts early. Social network analysis is an adequate technique to assess network structures and to plan interventions to improve networking. In addition, it is very useful to evaluate the effectiveness of interventions like round tables. We present data from our pilot project which was part of "Guter Start ins Kinderleben" ("a good start into a child's life"). Exemplary network data from one community show that networking is already quite effective with a satisfactory mean density throughout the network. There is potential for improvement in cooperation, especially at the interface between the child welfare and health systems.