For struggling families in some of the country’s most disadvantaged areas, it can feel like they are all alone – that their family is the only one who has been through the problems they are facing.

In fact, there are many families who have been through the same challenges and come out the other side of those challenges stronger.

Whether it is money problems, a family member struggling with addiction or simply difficulty dealing with the everyday challenges of raising a family, chances are someone else has been through exactly the same issue – and they could be willing to help.

But how does somebody reach out for help?

Through an innovative social program that was kick-started in the suburbs of Adelaide, struggling families are being paired with families who have overcome similar challenges.

The community-based program – Family by Family – has won support from government and is now going from strength to strength.

Since its inception the program has supported more than 400 families.

As a teen mother, a grandmother in her 30s and a victim of family violence, Nicole was offered help by Family by Family when it was starting out six years ago.

Nicole, 41, of Adelaide’s southern suburbs, has not only turned her own life around but was also paired with more than 10 families to help them reach their goals.

As what is known as a `sharing family’ Nicole’s family supported `seeking families’ who are confronting the same sort of challenges she experienced.

Nicole has set aside the judgement she experienced from people around her about her own circumstances to become a positive influence on so many others.

“Family by Family has changed my life – I realised that you can stand up for yourself,” Nicole says.

“Setting goals with families has helped me to apply goal setting in my own life.

“I can’t tell you how over the moon I am now that my children are going to university when it felt like everyone expected my kids to be on Centrelink.

“I feel like I have broken the intergenerational cycle.”

Family by Family was the first major program developed by The Australian Centre for Social Innovation (TACSI).

TACSI designs solutions to social problems with the people affected by them and then partners with other organisations to deliver those solutions.

Currently, Family by Family is being run in Adelaide’s northern, western and southern suburbs and the Sydney western suburb of Mount Druitt.

Family by Family was developed with the support of Uniting Communities and the South Australian Department for Education and Child Development has contributed funds towards the program.

For more information about TACSI and Family by Family contact: TACSI Director Public Policy and Strategy Matt Ryan on 0434 603 680.