Family by Family

Families helping families to create better lives

Summary

We created a program to address families in crisis by engaging and training families who have been through tough times to help other families going through tough times.



The situation

Families are the experts. The biggest difference is that families are primarily supported by other families, rather than professionals. Family by Family activates a largely untapped resource – the strengths and experiences of families that have ‘been there, done that’ – and at the same time builds community capability and strengthens connections. 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.

Our vision

The program is also a model that will allow us to grow exponentially and create wide-reaching and sustainable social change. One professional Family Coach works with 15 Sharing Families, who in turn work with 40 Seeking Families, reaching up to 100 children at risk.

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.

Our approach

Family by Family was designed with and for families. The program is currently run in NSW and SA and is developing an evidence base that demonstrates that solutions built on what families want and need can create outcomes for both families and for governments at a cost benefit ratio. Our ambition is to spread Family by Family across Australia.

“Family by Family is one of the most innovative and inspiring approaches to assisting very vulnerable families that I’ve come across in four decades.”
– Prof. Dorothy Scott

TACSI insights

The biggest difference in this program is that families are primarily supported by other families, rather than professionals. Family by Family activates a largely untapped resource – the strengths and experiences of families that have ‘been there, done that’ – and at the same time builds community capability and strengthens connections.

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.

Outcomes

A cost-effective, scalable model.

The program is also a model that will allow us to grow exponentially and create wide-reaching and sustainable social change. One professional Family Coach works with 15 Sharing Families, who in turn work with 40 Seeking Families, reaching up to 100 children at risk.

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.

Next steps

While there are other programs that use a ‘mentoring’ or ‘peer-to-peer’ model, the key difference with Family by Family is its firm focus on behaviour change. It’s not only about offering support and encouragement (although that is valuable), it’s about families setting their own goals and being coached and guided to make a lasting change in their lives – from ending drug and alcohol abuse, to spending more time together as a family. The change journey has been very intentionally designed into the program, leading to a much higher likelihood of success.

For more information, visit the Family By Family website.