Interprofessional teamwork in decentralized child welfare in The Netherlands: A comparison between the cities of Amsterdam and Utrecht

Willem J. Kortleven*, Shelita Lala, Youssra Lotfi

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to JournalArticleAcademicpeer-review


The recent transformation of child welfare in the Netherlands has improved opportunities for interprofessional working. We compared two models of teamworking within newly established interprofessional teams in the cities of Amsterdam and Utrecht, conducting a secondary analysis of semi-structured interviews collected through three broader research projects. Respondents include seventeen interprofessional team members (six from Utrecht, eleven from Amsterdam), representing a variety of teams across city, as well as two policymakers from Utrecht and one from Amsterdam. Team members were approached using convenience sampling, policymakers were purposively recruited. In different rounds of open and focused coding, we found that differences in team organization between the two cities have led to differences in the quality of interprofessional teamworking. Teamworking is best developed in Utrecht partly because team members are recruited and employed by a single organization. This has enabled a more careful process of selection and team composition than in Amsterdam, where a delegation approach entailed fragmentation as well as the risk of divided loyalty between team and mother organization. In addition, while the development of interprofessional teamwork in Utrecht is served by certain structures, teams in Amsterdam have suffered from an imbalance between freedom and structure, causing insecurity amongst staff and reduced chances of interprofessional integration. Despite the apparent success of the Utrecht model of interprofessional teamworking, interprofessional collaboration across team boundaries might suffer from the fact that teams in Utrecht, unlike in Amsterdam, do not comprise representatives of relevant partner organizations.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)116-119
Number of pages4
JournalJournal of Interprofessional Care
Issue number1
Early online date29 Aug 2018
Publication statusPublished - 2 Jan 2019


  • Child protection
  • child welfare
  • decentralization
  • Interprofessional collaboration
  • interprofessional learning
  • teamwork


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