Fears of the prospect of growing social exclusion have become important concerns in recent years for many countries. Improving the quality of education and the standards attained by students to improve employability is one of the tools being used to prevent exclusion. However, changing social realities are leaving young children and students more exposed than ever to failure at school and unemployment.
It is becoming increasingly clear that communities, education systems, schools and teachers are not equipped to deal with the many problems which arise and when social or health services become involved conflicts of interest can arise leading to actions which are not always in the clients' best interests.
The necessity to provide greater co-ordination among these services, to improve their efficiency and effectiveness and to provide a seamless support to meet the holistic needs of students and their families is now becoming more accepted. Such an approach, inter alia, is community-based, emphasises prevention rather than being crisis-oriented, is customer-driven rather than being focused on an agency, and is accountable through outcomes rather than inputs. For many, better co-ordination of services is seen as the only solution available which is commensurate with our present democratic societies.
All of the papers in this book were presented at a conference held in Toronto, Canada. They are original and have been written by policy-makers from different ministries, researchers from different disciplines and clients who come variously from Canada, Finland, France, Germany, the Netherlands, Spain, the UK, and the USA.