Key organisations for working with culturally and linguistically diverse families

Content type
Resource sheet

May 2023


This CFCA resource sheet is a directory of key organisations and resources for practitioners and service providers working with families and children from culturally and linguistically diverse (CALD) backgrounds.


Culturally and linguistically diverse (CALD) is a broad term used to describe communities with diverse languages, ethnic backgrounds, nationalities, traditions, societal structures and religions (Ethnic Communities Council Victoria, 2012). CALD communities can include people who:

  • are born overseas (first-generation Australian) or have at least one parent born overseas (second-generation Australian)
  • have migrated as a refugee or asylum seeker, or through other migration pathways
  • can speak other languages besides English  
  • follow various religions and faiths, traditions, values and beliefs.

Culturally and linguistically diverse populations are growing in Australia (Australian Bureau of Statistics [ABS], 2022). As indicated by 2021 ABS Census data, more than half (51.5%) of all Australians are first- or second-generation migrants. The number of people who used a language other than English at home had increased by nearly 800,000 (792,062) since 2016 to over 5.5 million people (5,663,709) in 2021.

The needs of families and children from CALD communities can differ based on factors such as their migration pathway, pre- and post-migration experiences, and levels of acculturation.1 Families and children from CALD backgrounds can face greater challenges when dealing with the health and social systems. Language and cultural barriers, lower health literacy and difficulties navigating the health care and social systems put them at greater risk of experiencing poorer quality health care, service delivery and utilisation, and poorer health outcomes compared with people who are not identified as being CALD (Australian Institute of Health and Welfare [AIHW], 2022; also see Lau et al., 2018). Knowledge of the different services, key organisations and resources that are available for people from CALD backgrounds can help practitioners address the health and social needs of CALD families and children.

Directory of key organisations and resources nationally and by state and territory

This directory presents a summary of key organisations and peak bodies across Australia, and within the states and territories, that support practitioners working with CALD communities. This resource does not aim to capture all the programs and projects that support CALD families and children in Australia.



  • AMES Australia  
    AMES Australia supports culturally and linguistically diverse communities by providing end-to-end settlement services including English language and vocational training and employment and accommodation services.
  • Association for Services to Torture and Trauma Survivors (ASeTTS)  
    ASeTTS provides services to people who are humanitarian entrants or are from a refugee background and who have experienced torture or trauma in their country of origin, during their flight to Australia, or while in detention.
  • Australian Government Department of Home Affairs  
    This Australian Government department is responsible for visas, immigration and refugees. Their Community Support Program (CSP) and Adult Migrant English Program (AMEP) help people settle in Australia.
  • Australian Red Cross  
    The Red Cross provides help and support for refugees, people seeking asylum, people in immigration detention and other migrants in Australia.
  • Australian Refugee Health Practice Guide ;   
    The Australian Refugee Health Practice Guide can be used by doctors, nurses and other primary care providers to inform on-arrival and ongoing health care for people from refugee backgrounds, including people seeking asylum.
  • Australian Multicultural Foundation (AMF) ;   
    AMF initiates programs and projects that raise awareness of Australia’s cultural diversity, to advance its social and economic wellbeing.
  • Community Refugee Sponsorship Australia ;   
    Community Refugee Sponsorship Australia’s programs offer the opportunity for a local group of five or more adults to provide support to a refugee household settling in Australia.
  • Embrace Multicultural Mental Health ;   
    Embrace provides a national platform for Australian mental health services and multicultural communities to access resources, services and information in culturally accessible formats.
  • Federation of Ethnic Communities’ Council of Australia (FECCA) ;   
    FECCA is the national peak body representing and advocating for CALD communities. One of its online resources includes a community perspective on pressing issues affecting new and emerging communities in Australia.
  • Health Translations ;   
    Health practitioners who work with CALD communities can use this directory to find reliable translated health information. It’s a Victorian Government initiative but the health information is relevant to all Australians.
  • Justice Connect ;   
    Justice Connect links people with legal help, including refugees, asylum seekers and migrants who need help navigating the legal system.
  • Multicultural Youth Advocacy Network Australia (MYAN) ;   
    MYAN is an advocacy non-profit body that provides advice to the government and capacity building to those who work with young people. MYAN facilitates a nationally coordinated approach to policy and advocacy on multicultural youth issues through affiliated state/territory organisations and networks.
  • National Ethnic Disability Alliance (NEDA) ;   
    NEDA advocates for the rights and interests of people from CALD backgrounds with disability and their families and carers throughout Australia.
  • Partners in Culturally Appropriate Care (PICAC) ;   
    PICAC supports aged care service providers to deliver care that meets the needs of people from CALD backgrounds and older individuals and their families from CALD backgrounds to make informed decisions about their aged care. Workshops, training, information sessions, fact sheets and guides are accessible via the website. There is a PICAC organisation for each state and territory.
  • Refugee Council of Australia ;   
    Search by state or territory in this directory to find services for refugees and people seeking asylum. Practitioners can direct clients to this resource for financial, employment, housing and legal advice.
  • Refugee Legal ;   
    Refugee Legal provides free specialist legal assistance to people seeking asylum, refugees and disadvantaged migrants.
  • Services Australia ;   
    Services Australia is the Australian Government department responsible for social, health and child support services and payments. The website has multilingual publications and information about their interpreting and translating services. The Refugee Servicing Network helps newly arrived refugees, humanitarian entrants or people with a Permanent Protection visa to find and use translators, government payments and health care.
  • Settlement Services International (SSI) ;   
    Support for refugees and asylum seekers that operates locally, nationally and internationally, with offices in metro and regional Queensland, NSW and Victoria.
  • SSI (formerly Access Community Services Ltd)
    SSI is a national not-for-profit organisation providing human and social services across Queensland, New South Wales and Victoria. They deliver a range of services that connect individuals, families and children from diverse backgrounds with opportunities – from settlement support, to disability programs, community engagement initiatives and training and employment pathways.  
  • The Forum of Australian Services for Survivors of Torture and Trauma (FASSTT) ;   
    FASSTT is a network of Australia’s eight specialist rehabilitation agencies. This website lists services providing rehabilitation for refugees who have survived torture and trauma, as well as professional development and capacity building for service providers. There is one FASSTT member agency in each state and territory of Australia.
Australian Capital Territory

Australian Capital Territory

  • Australian Red Cross ACT Migrant Services
    The Australian Red Cross provides help and support to refugees, asylum seekers, immigration detainees and other people who are vulnerable as a result of migration. It provides a range of services and programs such as the Support for Trafficked People Program, the Status Resolution Support Service Program, Tracing and the Emergency Relief program.
  • Canberra Refugee Support
    Canberra Refugee Support provides volunteer support for refugees, assisting with settlement and advocacy and providing policy advice to government.
  • Calvary Refugee Mentoring Program
    The Calvary Refugee Mentoring Program provides individuals from a refugee/asylum seeker background with a positive and individualised workplace-related experience, so that they might be better prepared for career, study or community participation.
  • Community Services – ACT Government
    The Office for Multicultural Affairs provides advice on issues around cultural and linguistic diversity in the ACT. It coordinates a whole-of-government approach to issues affecting culturally diverse people. It provides support to committees and manages the ACT multicultural community grant programs.
  • Companion House
    Companion House is a non-government community-based organisation that works with adults and children who have sought safety in Australia from persecution, torture and war-related trauma. In addition to community development and therapeutic services, it provides training and professional development sessions focused on refugee issues, working with survivors of torture and trauma, and cultural diversity. Companion house is the FASSTT member agency for the ACT.
  • Legal Aid ACT
    Legal Aid ACT has a free Migration Clinic service that provides legal advice and information about refugee law and other immigration matters.
  • Migrant and Refugee Settlement Services (MARSS) of the ACT
    This organisation provides settlement and related services for migrants and refugees in the Australian Capital Territory.
  • Multicultural Youth Services – Multicultural Hub Canberra
    Multicultural Hub helps migrants, refugees and asylum seekers to access services and resources in the Australian Capital Territory. A broad range of programs, including support for newly arrived migrants and refugees, youth services, employment, women’s services and counselling services are provided.
  • MYAN ACT/Youth Coalition of ACT
    The Youth Coalition of ACT actively promotes the wellbeing and aspirations of young people in the ACT with respect to their social, political, cultural, spiritual, economic and educational development.
New South Wales

New South Wales

  • Ethnic Communities' Council of NSW (ECCNSW)
    ECCNSW is the peak body for all culturally and linguistically diverse communities in New South Wales. Its main activities are advocacy, community education and community development.
  • Law and Justice Foundation
    The Law and Justice Foundation provides a directory of resources for lawyers and practitioners to better understand the communities they are working to support.
  • Multicultural Youth Affairs Network NSW (MYAN NSW)
    MYAN NSW is a statewide multicultural youth specialist service. MYAN NSW works to provide support and expertise to young people from refugee and migrant backgrounds so that they can build the skills, knowledge and networks they need to be active citizens in NSW.
  • Multicultural Disability Advocacy Association of NSW (MDAA)
    MDAA is the peak body for all people in NSW with disability and their families and carers, with a focus on those from a CALD/non-English speaking background with disability.
  • NSW Legal Aid Immigration service
    This service provides free legal advice, assistance and representation about refugee law and other immigration matters.
  • NSW Service for the Treatment and Rehabilitation of Torture and Trauma Survivors (STARTTS)
    STARTTS provides culturally relevant psychological treatment and support and community interventions to help people and communities heal the scars of torture and refugee trauma and rebuild their lives in Australia. STARTTS also fosters a positive recovery environment through the provision of training to services, advocacy and policy work. STARTTS is the FASSTT member agency for NSW.
  • NSW Refugee Health Service (RHS)
    The NSW Refugee Health Service (RHS) is a state-wide service, funded by the Ministry of Health. It provides a range of clinical services and medical assessments for recently arrived refugees and asylum seekers. Activities also include policy input, research, projects and a range of health promotion initiatives. 
  • NSW Multicultural Health Communication Service
    This service is funded by NSW Health. It helps health workers to communicate with non-English-speaking people. The website has health information translated into a large selection of languages other than English.
  • Transcultural Mental Health Centre (TMHC)
    TMHC works with health practitioners and communities across New South Wales to support positive mental health for people from culturally and linguistically diverse communities.
  • Youth Action
    Youth Action is the peak organisation representing young people and youth services in NSW. Youth action gives a particular focus to regional young people, First Nations young people, those doing it tough, those with disability, LGBTIQA+ and young people from culturally and linguistically diverse communities, including migrants and refugees.
Northern Territory

Northern Territory

  • Multicultural Council of the Northern Territory (MCNT)
    The MCNT promotes multiculturalism as a policy that works for all Australians. The MCNT promotes empowerment for people from CALD backgrounds through culturally appropriate advocacy and direct service delivery to ensure full participation in the Territory’s social, cultural, economic, political and civic life.
  • Multicultural Community Services of Central Australia (MCSCA)
    MCSCA is a community-based organisation that delivers quality and confidential services to people from CALD backgrounds.
  • Multicultural Youth NT (MyNT)
    MyNT is a youth-led organisation that builds the capacity of young Territorians from all backgrounds to integrate and interact socially, share ideas and have a voice in addressing issues that affect them. It aims to empower young people to make ideas and aspirations come alive.
  • MYAN NT/Melaleuca Refugee Centre
    Melaleuca Refugee Centre provides an environment for resettlement and healing for refugee survivors of torture and trauma, their families and community through confidential, high quality and holistic services.
  • Northern Territory Government – Office of Multicultural Affairs
    The Office of Multicultural Affairs promotes cultural and linguistic diversity in the NT by sponsoring grants and awards programs and providing information to the community. Its website has a range of religious fact sheets and community profiles relevant to the NT, as well as links to multicultural organisations.
  • Northern Territory Legal Aid Commission
    The NT Legal Aid Commission funds a culturally and linguistically diverse (CALD) program that makes regular outreach visits to migrant English classes and provides a range of community legal education sessions with community members and service providers, including interpreters.


  • Ethnic Communities Council of Queensland (ECCQ)
    ECCQ is the peak body in Queensland for ethnic communities and cultural diversity, focused on supporting and advocating for the needs, interests and contributions of CALD communities in Queensland.
  • Multicultural Youth Queensland (MyQ)
    MyQ works towards creating a socially cohesive community where multicultural young people can equitably realise their goals socially, culturally, economically and politically across Queensland.
  • Queensland Program of Assistance to Survivors of Torture and Trauma (QPASTT)
    QPASTT is a non-government, not-for-profit organisation providing culturally responsive services to promote the health and wellbeing of people in Australia who have sought safety from persecution, torture and war-related trauma. It welcomes all people regardless of their ethnicity, culture, gender, age, ability, sexual orientation, language or religious beliefs. QPASTT is an LGBTIQ+ friendly service that is proudly committed to inclusion and equity for all.
  • Queensland Department of Communities – Multicultural Resource Directory
    This is a Queensland Government directory that lists more than 1,500 organisations with an ethnic community focus in Queensland. These include ethnic media outlets, schools, community groups, consuls and migrant service organisations.
  • Refugee Health Network Queensland
    This website has links to a range of health and mental health services for asylum seekers in Queensland. It has useful information for health practitioners about support for asylum seekers who don’t have access to Medicare.
  • Refugee and Immigration Legal Service
    This not-for-profit organisation provides free immigration advice, legal assistance and legal education to immigrants, refugees and asylum seekers in Queensland.
South Australia

South Australia

  • Australian Migrant Resource Centre 
    The Australian Migrant Resource Centre (AMRC) specialises in humanitarian and migrant settlement, and community capacity building and development for young people, women and other migrants.
  • Legal Services Commission South Australia 
    The Legal Services Commission offers a free legal advisory service to immigrants and refugees through its Adelaide office.
  • Move to South Australia – Settlement Support Services 
    This website from the Government of South Australia has information to help people migrate to South Australia. It has information about different visa options, state nomination, skilled occupation lists and support services.
  • Multicultural Communities Council of SA 
    This is a non-government organisation advocating for CALD communities in South Australia.
  • SA Department of the Premier and Cabinet – Multicultural Affairs 
    This website from the Government of South Australia has information to help people migrate to South Australia. With a focus on supporting the community and encouraging communities to showcase their cultural diversity, Multicultural Affairs is also responsible for the administration and delivery of multicultural grant programs, events, awards, community forums, support programs and resources.


  • Migrant Resource Centre Tasmania 
    The Migrant Resource Centre offers support to families from CALD backgrounds in Tasmania. It runs inclusive and culturally diverse community education programs on parenting and relationship issues.
  • Multicultural Youth Tasmania (MYT) 
    MYT is a program of Migrant Resource Centre Tasmania (MRC Tas). MYT provides targeted services and projects to support young people aged up to 25 years from multicultural backgrounds to reach their full potential and thrive as active members of the Tasmanian community.
  • Multicultural Access Point 
    This Tasmanian Government website is a quick and easy way to find information and services for migrants and former humanitarian entrants in Tasmania, including information on interpreting services, housing and accommodation, health, community, education, managing money, transport and settlement support.
  • Multicultural Council of Tasmania 
    This organisation advocates and lobbies for human rights, social justice, respect, equality and dignity for CALD communities. It works to build an inclusive society by providing information and promoting cultures, languages and multicultural issues in the community, and members help to welcome new migrants and refugees to Tasmania.
  • Tasmanian Refugee Legal Service (TRLS) 
    TRLS assists people of refugee background, people seeking asylum and humanitarian entrants with all aspects of migration law.


  • Action on Disability within Ethnic Communities (ADEC) 
    ADEC is a Victorian organisation that helps people with disability, the ageing population, their families and carers from CALD backgrounds to have independence and participate in the community.
  • Asylum Seeker Resource Centre Services 
    The Asylum Seeker Resource Centre provides services such as food and material aid, support services, health care, legal aid, education and training, empowerment pathways, advocating from lived experience and employment pathways to refugees and people seeking asylum.
  • Centre for Multicultural Youth (CMY) 
    CMY is a not-for-profit organisation that works with young people from diverse cultural backgrounds in Victoria. It works to support organisations and decision makers through publications, programs and consultation on strategies and policies.
  • Centre for Culture, Ethnicity & Health (CEH) 
    CEH provides specialist information, training and support on cultural diversity and wellbeing to health and community service practitioners. Several resources on cultural competency for workplaces are available online.
  • Ethnic Communities' Council of Victoria (ECCV) 
    ECCV is the peak body for ethnic and multicultural organisations in Victoria and is committed to empowering people from CALD backgrounds. ECCV advocates for culturally diverse communities in Victoria.
  • Foundation House 
    Foundation House is a specialist refugee trauma agency supporting survivors of torture and other traumatic events. Foundation house is the FASSTT member agency for Victoria.
  • In Touch Multicultural Centre Against Family Violence 
    The In Touch Multicultural Centre Against Family Violence addresses the needs of refugee and migrant women and children with services such as prevention, early intervention, post-crisis intervention, and recovery from family violence. Information and training are provided for practitioners and women experiencing family violence.
  • Migrant Information Centre (Eastern Melbourne) (MIC) 
    MIC assists individuals, families and communities from diverse backgrounds residing in the eastern suburbs of Melbourne to understand Australian life, integrate into a multicultural community and access services.
  • Multicultural Affairs 
    The Victorian Government’s Multicultural Affairs unit promotes diversity and inclusion in Victoria. It consults with community organisations, offers grants to Victoria’s multicultural communities, and works on improving language services to Victorians.
  • Multicultural Centre for Women's Health (MCWH) 
    The MCWH increases migrant and refugee women’s opportunities for health and wellbeing in Australia through education, advocacy and leadership.
  • Refugee Health Program 
    The Refugee Health Program (formerly the Refugee Health Nurse Program) operates in 17 local government areas of Victoria. The program is delivered by community health services, and employs community health nurses, allied health practitioners and assistants and bicultural workers. The nurses and other health practitioners have expertise in working with culturally and linguistically diverse and marginalised communities.
  • The Orange Door 
    The Orange Door is a free service for Victorian adults, children and young people who are experiencing or have experienced family violence and families who need extra support with the care of children. Help and support is provided to migrants, refugees and those who do not have permanent residency.
  • Victoria Legal Aid – Get help in your own language 
    Victoria Legal Aid helps people with legal problems. Information about what it does is provided in a range of languages on its website. It also arranges interpreters and gives information about the law in languages other than English over the phone.
  • Victorian Refuge Health Network 
    The Victorian Refuge Health Network works to develop responsive health service systems that meet the needs of people from refugee backgrounds, including asylum seekers.
  • Victorian Transcultural Mental Health (VTMH) 
    VTMH advocates strongly for cultural safety and supports the examination of societal structures, service systems and institutional factors. Promotes equity and social justice in mental health practice, policy, governance and the allocation of public resources.
  • Victorian Multicultural Commission 
    The Victorian Multicultural Commission engages with multicultural and multifaith groups to understand the issues they face. It supports and advocates for culturally and linguistically diverse Victorians.
Western Australia

Western Australia

  • Ishar Multicultural Women’s Health Centre 
    Ishar provides counselling and health checks and runs classes and support groups for women from diverse cultural backgrounds in Perth’s northern suburbs.
  • Legal Aid WA 
    Legal Aid WA provides some advice about visas and immigration matters. It also refers people to other organisations that can help.
  • Multicultural Services Centre of Western Australia 
    This organisation provides diverse community services and programs, including aged care, disability, settlement and mental health services.
  • Multicultural Youth Advocacy Network of Western Australia (MYAN WA) 
    MYAN WA provides a voice to the unique issues faced by young people from refugee and migrant backgrounds and a forum for members to network, share information and address sector issues.
  • WA Office of Multicultural Interests 
    The Office of Multicultural Interests is part of the WA Department of Local Government. It promotes multiculturalism and improves services to Western Australians from diverse cultural, linguistic and religious backgrounds.

Additional resources

Other resources that may support practitioners working with children and families from CALD backgrounds include:


Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS). (2022). Cultural diversity of Australia. Information on country of birth, year of arrival, ancestry, language and religion. Canberra: ABS. Retrieved from

Australian Institute of Health and Welfare (AIHW). (2022). Reporting on the health of culturally and linguistically diverse populations in Australia: An exploratory paper (Catalogue number PHE 308).Canberra: AIHW.

Ethnic Communities Council Victoria. (2012). ECCV Glossary of Terms. Coburg, Vic.: Ethnic Communities Council Victoria.

Lau, W., Silove, D., Edwards, B., Forbes, D., Bryant, R., McFarlane, A. et al. (2018). Adjustment of refugee children and adolescents in Australia: outcomes from wave three of the Building a New Life in Australia study. BMC Medicine16(1), 1–17.

Wu, Q., Ge, T., Emond, A., Foster, K., Gatt, J. M., Hadfield, K. et al. (2018). Acculturation, resilience, and the mental health of migrant youth: A cross-country comparative study. Public Health, 162, 63–70. 

1 Acculturation refers to the process by which individuals from one culture acquire the culture and code of behaviours of another culture (Wu, 2018).

Authors and Acknowledgements

Authors and Acknowledgements

This resource sheet was updated by Dr Pragya Gartoulla, Research Fellow and Anagha Joshi, Senior Research Officer with the Child Family Community Australia information exchange at the Australian Institute of Family Studies.

Featured image: © GettyImages/PeopleImages