In 2019, the South Australian Government’s Department of Human Services (DHS) engaged consultants Dana Shen (DS Consultancy) and Melanie Lambert (Think Human) to co-design a new Child and Family Support System with the community services sector and community members.
A core foundation of their approach was to engage effectively and authentically with families with lived experience. These families acted as ‘system advisors’, providing advice and support to guide the development of the system, to improve it for others.
The collaboration was so successful that a Lived Experience Network (LEN) was formally established the following year.
In the first episode of this two-part series, Dana, Mel and former LEN Coordinator Yasmin Sinclair share what it took to create a lived experience network that facilitates families’ voices and genuinely informs systems change. Speaking with Emerging Minds’ Child and Family Partnerships Coordinator, Bec Edser, the trio discuss some of their key learnings from undertaking a co-design project of this nature.
In this episode, you will learn:
- the importance of establishing successful relationships with lived experience partners, to ensure families’ voices are informing the design and evaluation of the systems that affect their lives [02:30]
- how a genuine belief in the voice of families, a willingness to share power, and being clear and accountable about any project constraints can support effective co-design [09:02]
- the value of offering opportunities for skill development to lived experience family partners [14:05]
- the importance of providing choice and agency to lived experience partners [18:42]
Further information and resources