Laying the foundations of the Lived Experience Network

Lydia Trowse and Bec Edser, Emerging Minds, Australia, January 2024

Resource Summary

This resource is part of a case study on the Lived Experience Network: a co-designed group of lived experience system advisors established within the South Australian Government’s Department of Human Services (DHS) Early Intervention Research Directorate (EIRD). The Network aims to ensure the voices of children and families are included in the planning, monitoring and review of the Child and Family Support System.

We recommend exploring how and why the Lived Experience Network was formed before reading this resource.

A foundation of good, authentic relationships has been essential to the Lived Experience Network’s success. These connections have proved important both for the experience of the lived experience system advisors and the outcomes sought by the Department of Human Services.

Network staff, Dana, Mel and Yasmin, have purposefully created an environment for the system advisors that is supportive, safe and enjoyable. They have also focused on providing the group with opportunities to make a valuable contribution to child and family support systems.

In the following recording (5 minutes, 13 seconds), LEN staff and members discuss how the strong foundation for the Lived Experience Network was built.

Reflection activity

Take a moment to consider the following question:

  • What qualities do you think would be important to have in a relationship between people with lived experience and coordinating staff? How might these relationships differ to a staff/client relationship?

For more information on establishing successful relationships with lived experience partners, visit the ‘Relationships’ section of Emerging Minds’ Child and Family Partnerships Toolkit.

Emerging Minds would like to acknowledge the following Lived Experience Network Alumni, consultants and coordinator who have so generously shared their insights and wisdom for this project:

Shelly, Mirja, Jasmine, Wei, Jamie, Lemy, Chloe, Dana, Mel and Yasmin.

We thank them for investing their time and energy into creating this case study for others to learn from. You can learn more about what the alumni are up to now.

For more examples of ways to incorporate lived experience wisdom into your practice, please check out our other child and family partnership case studies.

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