Some good articles/links – engaging ‘hard to reach’ families

(Photo: Evan Leeson)

(Photo: Evan Leeson)

Over the next 12 months I will be working with a number of organisations in regional and rural New South Wales who provide child and parenting support. One of the challenging issues they face is how to engage ‘hard to reach’ families. So this week I’ve included a number of resources exploring this topic.

Practical Guidelines to Improve Service Accessibility for Families from UnitingCare Gippsland – 11 principles that can help improve service access.

Are disadvantaged families “hard to reach”? Engaging disadvantaged families in child and family services by Myfanwy McDonald via the Australian Institute of Family Studies – summarises and builds upon the findings from the Engaging Hard to Reach Families and Children study (see below) and provides ideas for practitioners and policy-makers about how to increase engagement of disadvantaged (or “hard to reach”) families in child and family services and programs.

Engaging hard-to-reach families and children by Natasha Cortis, Ilan Katz and Roger Patulny via the Department of Social Services – a 66 page report exploring how Communities for Children (a nationally funded program in selected communities around Australia) engaged families who could be considered hard-to-reach. It includes a literature review, strategies and challenges.

Principles of engagement from Child Wellbeing and Child Protection NSW interagency Guidelines – some principles for engaging families in the context of child wellbeing and child protection. It includes a section When engagement is difficult or not working.

Families with multiple and complex needs: Best interests case practice model by Leah Bromfield, Karen Sutherland and Robyn Parker via The Victorian Department of Human Serivices – an 88 page report which includes material on engaging families.

‘Hard to reach’ families: Under-represented, invisible or service resistant? by Helen Barrett via Parenting Across Scotland – a powerpoint based from a conference presentation which includes some principles for engaging families (slide 13).

One from the vaults

Playgroups as a foundation for working with hard to reach families – how we used playgroups as a way of engaging families

This post came from a project I’m working on supporting nine children and parenting support programs in regional and rural NSW to enhance their capacity to implement evidence-based programs and practice. The project was funded by the Department funded by the Department of Social Services through the Children and Families Expert Panel. You can see other posts relating to this work at

If you liked this post please follow my blog (top right-hand corner of the blog), and you might like to look at:

  1. Previous weekend readings
  2. 9 principles for supporting families and communities
  3. A resilience practice framework by the Benevolent Society
  4. Childhood trauma and brain development
  5. Domestic violence, family, friends and neighbours
  6. 10 things I’ve learnt about strengths-based community engagement

About Graeme Stuart

Lecturer (Family Action Centre, Newcastle Uni), blogger (Sustaining Community), Alternatives to Violence Project facilitator, environmentalist, father. Passionate about families, community development, peace, sustainability.
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