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The transformative potential of relationships between helping professionals and clients is well recognised. Less often have these relationships been explicitly considered as building blocks of social capital. This article reports a qualitative analysis of the views of a group of 80 parents about the nature of helpful helping relationships. The analysis asked: What are the features of the relationships between service users and service providers that indicate the presence of linking social capital? What are the implications for policy, practice and research? Data indicated that a number of parents experienced helpful relationships provided by a range of professionals. These relationships constituted a mechanism whereby people could access resources otherwise unavailable to them. These relationships can be understood as “linking social capital”—trusting relationships with people in formal institutions. Program constraints, organisational, and community cultures can affect these relationships and the linking social capital developed.


Institute of Child Protection Studies

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Journal Article

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