Family by Family

Co-designed with South Australian families for families, Family by Family helps families experiencing setbacks by engaging and training families who have been through tough times to help other families going through tough times themselves.

What is Family by Family

Family by Family is a scaffolded family network support program that helps other families make the changes they want in their lives. It blends the best from community development with the best from social work to deliver a hybrid practice that creates change for families.

The program helps families experiencing setbacks by engaging and training families who have been through tough times themselves but have come out the other side, and then matches them with families  in the thick of a tough time. 

The families are supported by coaches, who work with both families to set goals and help motivate and move families towards thriving lives

The families get to know each other, share stories, plan fun stuff, work towards goals together, and celebrate the small wins along the way. Nobody tells the families what they need to change, as everyone’s goals are different. 

Find out more about how Family by Family works here.

Over the last decade, Family by Family’s unique approach has supported over 2,000 Australian families to make lasting change in their lives.

Image 3: Family by Family coaching in Mt. Druitt

Where does Family by Family operate?

Uniting Communities are currently running the program across three regions of South Australia, and our partner organisation Shared Lives Plus is delivering a demonstration of the program in Stoke on Trent UK.

Illustration of two families

Are you a family seeking change?

Or are you a family that wants to share their experience, or a support person wondering how to help a family before crisis hits?

Register your interest

What makes Family by Family unique?

Designed with families, for families

Family by Family activates a largely untapped resource: the strengths and experiences of families who have ‘been there, done that’.

At the same time, it builds community capability by creating new connections of support and reducing social isolation, enhancing employment pathways and helping families navigate and negotiate the systems they interact with.


Firm focus on behaviour change

While there are other family support services and programs that use a ‘mentoring’ or ‘peer-to-peer’ approach, Family by Family has a firm focus on behaviour change.

The change journey has been very intentionally designed into the program, leading to a much higher likelihood of success.

Families set their own goals

Family by Family recognises that even in the toughest of times, families have their own aspirations and goals.

The program is focused on families setting their own goals and being coached and guided to make a lasting change in their lives, whether that’s moving on after a crisis, or as spending more time together as a family in their community. Families choose according to their own aspirations


Families call the shots

There’s no waiting lists or judgement, and families can decide when, where and how they meet up. Family by Family isn’t affiliated with any political, religious, or government organisations.

We try to minimise red tape by truly being a network of families helping families. Everything’s confidential and designed around goals and needs.

Cost effective and scalable 

Family by Family has been specifically designed to create wide-reaching and sustainable social change and, with just one professional for every 100 children, it’s extremely cost-effective.

The program has an unprecedented cost benefit ratio of 1:7, a huge saving for governments in keeping children out of state care and other child protection and crisis services.


Support when the family needs it

One of the real strengths of this model is that families don’t work nine to five, Monday to Friday – they’re there to support each other 24 hours a day, often at times when traditional services have shut the door, all while being provided with the scaffolded support of a professional family coach.

A Family by Family Seeking Family

A family by family Seeking Family

Danielle Madsen in Family by Family video

What's next

We’re currently developing an evidence base that demonstrates that responses built on what families want and need can create outcomes for families, communities and for governments at a cost benefit ratio.

We’re working with academics, independent evaluators and families to bring a 360º view to the response. Our ambition is to scale Family by Family internationally, and practises that support families to make change.

We have also developed a suite of quality systems that help those delivering the program do so confidently at scale, including standards of practice, learning frameworks, and data platforms.


Our ambition

We believe in a future where people help people. Where, in tough times, helpful help is across the street from someone you know. Where professionals, commissioners, organisations, communities, and families design and deliver side-by-side. Where everyone grows through helping others. Where lives are shared and human connection is at the centre of catalysing change.

In helping more organisations deliver Family by Family and the People Powered practices that underpin the program, we can get closer to getting communities and families involved in creating new services and sustainable outcomes for more people at a reduced cost to the government.

We're not political, religious, government or judgemental

“By placing a sharing family who displays more positive examples of how to negotiate challenging moments with their children into the seeking families context, we can provide opportunities to role model positive attachment relationships. We in turn see seeking families increase their capacity to replicate these loving behaviours with their own children as they learn in context.”

FAMILY BY FAMILY Service Manager

First Nations First

In 2014, we undertook a specific co-design project to understand what we would need to change to make the program, and many other services, more relevant and interesting for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander families.  

This culminated in a report that recommended a number of things to help make the program culturally safe, including the recruitment of an Aboriginal Cultural Connector. In 2015, we hired our first Cultural Connect, Aunty Vicky Charles.  

Other changes to the program include:

  • Co-designing flyers with Aboriginal families to get the message right

  • Allowing more time to create the right context for change

  • Connecting into the local Aboriginal community in the various locations where Family by Family exists.

Read more

Meet the Family by Family team

Want to be involved?

If you’d like to talk to TACSI about delivering Family by Family in your organisation or jurisdiction, or co-designing, testing and scaling your own people powered response, we’d love to have a chat.

Get in touch
We're social
Get in touch

Level 1, 279 Flinders St
Adelaide SA 5000

1/145 Redfern Street

Redfern NSW 2016

Subscribe to our newsletter
Be the first to hear about TACSI events, resources, our big ideas, and new projects.
© 2024 TACSI
We acknowledge the Traditional Custodians and Owners of the lands in which we work and live on across Australia. We pay our respects to Elders of the past, present and emerging. We are committed to collaboration that furthers self-determination and creates a better future for all. Please note: Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people are advised that this website may contain images, voices or names of deceased persons in photographs, film, audio recordings or printed material.
At TACSI, diversity and inclusion is more than a statement; equality and accessibility are guiding principles embedded in everything we do. We strongly believe that it’s the collective sum of all our communities differences, life experiences, and knowledge that enables both ourselves and our partners to come together to tackle complex social issues. That’s why we’re committed to having a diverse team made up of people with diverse skills from all backgrounds, including First Nations peoples, LGBTIQ+, mature-age people, and people with visible and non-visible disabilities, regardless of sex, sexuality or gender identity.