FFiTT: Project Phases

Our research involves 4 key phases

These phases are outlined in more detail below

Phase 1: Workshops to co-design the project participant engagement strategy, key research questions and methods

As part of Phase 1 we carried out 2 workshops with parents who struggle to pay the bills or put food on the table. In these workshops we discussed the many different steps involved in putting a healthy and nutritious meal on the table, and the difficulties families faced. Parents shared many creative and resourceful ideas about feeding their families under difficult circumstances. We also discussed the different areas in which policy changes are needed to better support families.  

In addition, we carried out a workshop with staff and management from key support organisations that work with families who may be experiencing food insecurity. Organisations discussed the different types of families they support and evaluated the extent to which they are able to meet families’ needs. Organisations shared the kind of information needed that would help them to better support families.  

Together the workshops informed the key research questions of the program and helped develop a shared language about food insecurity. Based on feedback from parents and support organisations, we developed our recruitment strategy and wording for the following research phases. 

Phase 2: Semi-structured interviews

In 2022 we interviewed 43 caregivers of 0-12 year old children who struggled to put food on the table. These interviews set out to explore the lived realities of food insecurity in Queensland and create an understanding of the complexities and possible solutions.

We would like to thank all participating families for their honesty and openness. It was an immense privilege to hear their life stories and learn how they manage under difficult circumstances.

While we spoke to lots of different families from across Queensland, many topics came up repeatedly, for example challenges related to the cost-of-living increase (food, fuel, electricity), housing and rental affordability, domestic and family violence, difficult experiences during the parents’ own childhood, disability/ chronic health problems, navigating welfare payments/NDIS, outstanding child support, social isolation and lack of support, racism and challenges accessing emergency funds and food relief. We gained some insight into how these challenges affect parents and children as well as relationships in the family. While the vast majority of families had experienced traumatic life events, all parents shared stories of tremendous strengths and resourcefulness, creativity and generosity.

Families also suggested a range of solutions and policy changes that will be further explored in Phase 4 of the project.

Detailed analysis of the interview data is currently underway.

Phase 3: Cross-sectional survey of Australian families

An Australia-wide online survey of carers of 2-12 year old children is currently underway.

The survey aims to understand more about what parents need to put food (that is filling and healthy) on the table. Survey questions were informed by the previous research phases and pilot tested with families with a lived experience of food insecurity.

The aim of this study is to learn more about the experiences of Australian families and to better understand the impact of financial hardship on parents and children. This information will help us find out what helps or stops families being able to put healthy food on the table.

The survey asks questions about:

  • The family and household
  • The household’s financial and living circumstances, including the food situation
  • Parental wellbeing and important life events
  • Child’s wellbeing, development, behaviour and diet.

All families experience different levels of stress at different times. The survey aims to investigate protective factors such as family resilience, regular routines or positive parenting practices that may protect children from the impact of stress.

Our survey is now closed!

Thank you to all the families who have participated in our online survey. The survey is now closed and the winners of the prize draw have been notified. We will analyse the data in the coming months. Stay tuned for a summary of the results.

Phase 4: Workshops to co-design a portfolio of solutions to food insecurity

In term 4 2023 we will be organising a series of workshops with key stakeholders (families with a lived experience of food insecurity, support and relief organisations, charities and government) to co-design a portfolio of solutions based on the research.

If you are interested in participating, we would love to hear from you.