Families' Experiences of Services


Kate Butler, Prof Morag McArthur, Dr Gail Winkworth, Vicky Saunders, Megan Layton-Thompson, Stella Conroy, Renee Crowe, Wendy Rollins

Funding Source:

Department of Families, Housing, Community Services and Indigenous Affairs


This study aimed to develop a deeper understanding of the kinds of social resources used by parents, what their needs were for services and the reasons why some were not connected to formal support. Through interviews and focus groups with 80 parents, it sought to answer the following research questions:

  • How do families who are in receipt of income support identify their needs?
  • What formal and informal supports do parents currently draw on?
  • What are their experiences of accessing and utilising formal support service? 


Research monograph

Butler, K., McArthur, M., Winkworth, G., Saunders, V., Layton-Thompson, M., Conroy, S., Crowe, R., & Rollins, W. (2009). Getting what we need: Families' experiences of services. Canberra: Institute of Child Protection Studies, ACU.

Associated publications

Barker, J., & Thomson, L. (2015). Helpful relationships with service users: Linking social capital. Australian Social Work, 68(1), 130 - 145.

McArthur, M., Thomson, L., & Winkworth, G. (2013). Jumping through hoops - the cost of compliance on sole parents. Child & Family Social Work, 18(2), 159-167.

Butler, K., McArthur, M., Thomson, L., & Winkworth, G. (2012). Vulnerable Families' Use of Services: Getting What They Need. Australian Social Work, 65(4), 575-581.