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There is growing recognition in Australia and in other countries that some people face complex challenges and multiple disadvantages in their everyday lives, and that their needs for safety, health, clothing, food, shelter, and emotional wellbeing form interacting webs of need. However, it is often this very group who may be excluded from services and other opportunities. A qualitative study was carried out with 80 families living on income support in two regions in Australia. The study explored how parents defined their families’ needs, their current levels of formal support, and their experiences of navigating multiple service systems and networks. Parents identified a range of issues that they viewed as adversely impacting on their health and wellbeing. They also described barriers to accessing services and the features of helpful service experiences. Families provided important information as to how those with the greatest need can be effectively assisted to access needed resources and services. Program design and individual service provision need to be based on principles of responsive, respectful service, and collaboration. Locating skilled workers in nonstigmatising settings such as schools has great potential for making services accessible and linking people with what they need.


Institute of Child Protection Studies

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Journal Article

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