Many families share circumstances that require interaction with multiple government agencies and systems of support (e.g. working poor families, families with children with special needs, immigrant/refugee families, families involved in the child welfare system). Too often, however, the perspectives of these families are not heard in the policy arena. To better inform policymakers, we employ mixed methods, including participatory research with families, to gain a thorough understanding of the challenges families face in navigating these systems and how these challenges affect their ability to care for their children and balance work and family. We apply our understanding of these needs to policy recommendations and a wide variety of workforce and organizational development initiatives (e.g. public assistance programs, including TANF, MaineCare, and Food Stamps, child support enforcement; education and child care). The following projects are examples of our work in this area.