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The municipality of Roskilde: Joint mission across departments

In June, the municipality of Roskilde is online with an anonymous chat counselling for vulnerable young people. Roskilde has partnered with Centre for Digital Youth Care (CfDP) who will be responsible for the development and operation of their new chat counselling. The chat will largely support the cross-disciplinary collaboration that aims to help vulnerable young people across departments of Roskilde municipality.

Roskilde municipality would like to ferret out vulnerable young people online

The municipality of Roskilde is choosing to use digital counselling in order to ferret out vulnerable young people who are hurting or who are at risk of developing problems. This way, the municipality may have the opportunity to intervene at an early stage and possibly prevent future problems. The Director of Training and Health with the municipality of Roskilde, Hanne Ourø Jensen, hopes that the upcoming project may provide an answer whether digital chat is a good medium to detect vulnerable young people as early as possible with the purpose of motivating them to receive help. “We hope to get in touch with some of the young people whom we otherwise don’t see, or whom we meet very late when they are already in a skewed development,” says Hanne Ourø Jensen.

Roskilde municipality views the anonymity as a major advantage. The motivational phase of having the opportunity to make a difference in young people’s lives can be quite long since many young people are shy about problems in their family and their own problems, as well. So, anonymity may help young people seek help sooner while allowing the municipality to introduce to someone the help they are able to offer.

CfDP to teach us digital pedagogy

Thus, the municipality of Roskilde has joined the vast group of municipalities who are currently working with Centre for Digital Youth Care on digital chat counselling. Hanne Ourø Jensen looks forward to their collaboration and is hoping that CfDP may help Roskilde municipality in several areas, including: Development of a collaboration between an organisation for volunteers, positive informational exchange about chatting with young people online, and general experience in the digital field. “They must teach us how to do digital pedagogy, because this is a field with which we are unfamiliar,” explains Hanne Ourø Jensen. Hanne explains that there are many considerations and fixed procedures for the municipality to meet citizens directly and personally. However, since a lot of young people spend much of their life on digital media, the municipality of Roskilde must meet them differently.

Chatting is a tool that can open up interdisciplinary collaboration

“At risk” and vulnerable young people are a challenge for Roskilde municipality, and for many of the departments, it is a core task to help children and young people start a healthy and well-balanced adult life. Cross-departmental collaboration is therefore necessary, and the chat room has proved to be a good tool for the interdisciplinary collaboration in other municipalities. You are independent of geographic distances, and only one computer and an internet connection are required. “It makes sense that we’re collaborating, so we may acquire as much information as possible as well as capacity building on counselling and early detection of vulnerable young people via the internet,” Hanne Ourø Jensen concludes.

Read more about CfDP’s municipal collaborations.

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