Helen Macpherson Smith Trust

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Case Study: Brotherhood of St Laurence

ProjectIncreasing Life Opportunities - The 2-Generation Approach




This grant was approved under previous grants policy (2014-2017)
Reducing inequality Ensuring young children are given skills essential to future education, maintaining youth in education/training, and helping parents gain employment skills and work
Building organisational capacity Building a collective impact model that strengthens the capacity of the partner organisations to provide effective and efficient wrap-around services.
Collaboration and partnership Creating a comprehensive partnership involving all agencies and community facilities necessary for each member of the family to have their needs met under the one roof. Connections@Craigieburn partners include 11 social service providers and the Jindi and Epping Hub partners include 13 social service providers

Children whose parents are employed have improved life chances

The 2-Generation Approach boosts educational achievements in young children so that they start school well prepared and remain engaged with education, while simultaneously assisting their parents to acquire the skills necessary for them to gain employment. The ultimate goal is to enable family economic success, which will in turn support the children’s cognitive, physical and psychological development and keep the family on a positive trajectory.

Image The 2-Generation Approach. Photo: BSL

Based on a successful USA model, the 2-Generation Approach integrates a full range of services in children and adult programs under the one roof to comprehensively address the needs of all family members. Brotherhood of St Laurence (BSL) has achieved this by spearheading partnerships to create community centres where multiple service providers assist with referring families to the respective services available in one place.


  • The combination of five program components provided in BSL’s 2-Generation program include: structured, educational play sessions with parent and child together; peer support groups; home visits; Dads’ group activities once a month; working one-on-one with an Economic Participation Coordinator regarding job training and placement.
  • The family signs a commitment to the program and meets weekly with staff to ensure they are meeting obligations and remain engaged until all family needs are met.
  • The 2-Generation Approach launched in February 2017 in three community hubs: Connie Benn Centre, Fitzroy; Jindi Family and Community Centre, Mernda; and Connections@Hothlyn, Craigieburn
  • Following BSL’s Community Engagement Framework, each of these sites operates in a way that is specific to the community it serves, each with very different demographics and referral pathways specific to the combination of partner services immediately available.
  • Referral into the 2-Generation intervention programs are also supported by BSL’s other community service hubs: Epping Community Services Hub, City of Whittlesea and Connections@Craigieburn, Hume City Council – each with over 10 community service providers working together.
  • The 2-Generation Approach has been successful enough to gain the attention of state and federal education representatives, and community service providers in WA and NSW. The program was a nominee for the 2017 Victorian Early Years awards.


"I want a career that will give my family some stability." Kylie, participant in the 2-Generation approach