Family Support Program

Important notice for Family Support Program service providers

The Australian Government has a new way of working that recognises and supports the work of civil society organisations. These new arrangements will reduce red tape for civil society, provide greater opportunity for collaboration in the delivery of services and generate better outcomes for communities and individuals by effectively targeting community needs and priorities while reducing duplication and administrative burden.

As part of the Government’s commitment to implement a new way of working for grants, significant improvements are being made to grant funding across DSS. 

The new Families and Communities Programme (FCP) incorporates a large portion of DSS grants to bring together early intervention and prevention services across communities.

Existing programmes have been streamlined into the new FCP to provide early intervention and prevention support to families, children, young people, volunteers, refugees, migrants and other individuals with special circumstances. 

Applications for grant funding under the new Families and Communities Programme will open on 19 June and close 23 July 2014. More information about the grants process can be found on the DSS Grants homepage.

Families and Children Activity

The Families and Children (FaC) Activity will be delivered under the FCP to provide early intervention and prevention activities to improve the wellbeing of families and children, including after separation, enhance family functioning and economic engagement and strengthen communities.

Most organisations providing Family and Relationship Services, Family Law Services and Communities for Children Facilitating Partner services have been offered five year grant agreements that will commence 1 July 2014, under the new FaC Activity.

A suite of key documents have been prepared to support providers under the new FaC Activity.

For information about the new programme click on the links below;

For further information refer to the Families and Children Activity factsheet.

Funding arrangements for Family Support Program service providers

To ensure continued service delivery while the new arrangements are implemented, DSS is offering most other former FSP services extensions to their grants agreements for six months to 31 December 2014. Organisations will be provided with an opportunity to apply for longer term funding from 1 January 2015 onwards.

For organisations with funding extensions for six months, they will continue to operate as normal under the Family Support Program until new funding arrangements come into effect.

Introduction

The Family Support Program provides early intervention and prevention support for children and families in Australia.

The Family Support Program ensures services are available to support the wellbeing and nurturing of children and families, especially those who are vulnerable and disadvantaged, to enable them to manage life's transitions, ensure children are protected and contribute to building stronger, more resilient communities.

Family Support Program Future Directions

In November 2012, a discussion paper on the future directions of the FSP was released, followed by a comprehensive national consultation process. Further information is available at Family Support Program Future Directions.

Family Support Program

The Family Support Program comprises two core streams:

The Family and Children's Services streamlined into four services types:

  1. Communities for Children Services: to provide prevention and early intervention services to families with children up to age 12 and who are at risk of disadvantage;
  2. Family and Relationship Services: to provide relationship advice, counseling for young people and children, and broader parenting support;
  3. Specialist Services: to support vulnerable families affected by issues such as drugs, violence and trauma; and
  4. Community Playgroups: to support parents with young children.

Streamlining these services, along with Family Law Services, into the Family Support Program provides a significant opportunity for the community sector and government to collaborate in response to a wide range of social needs. They are supported by national services.

Responsive and flexible services

The Family Support Program enables services to strengthen the focus on the needs of families and children, particularly those at risk, by way of:

  • linking services more effectively;
  • facilitating greater flexibility and responsiveness in service design and delivery; and
  • ensuring a 'no wrong door' approach so clients requiring assistance can be appropriately supported through any Family Support Program service.

A collaborative approach

The Family Support Program depends on effective collaboration that ensures:

  • governments and the community sector work together to support children and families;
  • increased opportunities to work with state, territory and local governments and the legal system; and
  • streamlined program management to reduce red tape burden on service providers.

Collaboration is essential for the design and for planning of services to meet local needs, increase service flexibility and better meet the needs of families and children.

Funding

Program guidelines and related information

The Program Guidelines provide information relating to the Family Support Program.

Fact Sheets

Family Support Program e-News 

The Family Support Program e-newsletter is a regular sector update.

This newsletter is circulated by email around four times each year. If you or someone you know would like to subscribe you can subscribe using this form.

If you would like any further information please email family.support.program@dss.gov.au

FSP eNews October 2012
FSP eNews December 2012

Peak body - Family Relationship Services Australia (FRSA)

Family Relationship Services Australia (FRSA) is the representative body for the Family Relationship Services sector and receives funding each year from the Department as well as its membership. FRSA aims to be a collective voice for the sector. The body was established on 1 July 2007.

Visit the Family Relationship Services Australia website for more information.

Evaluation Activities

Family Support Program Evaluation Activities 2011-14

An FSP Evaluation Strategy is being implemented to evaluate the effectiveness of the new FSP and inform future FSP development work from 2014.  The evaluation has several elements.

The Stronger Families in Australia. study (SFIA) is a longitudinal population level study that evaluates the impacts of the Communities for Children (CfC) initiative on children, families and communities.  Phase 1 has been completed and was published in 2009.  Phase 2 is currently underway.

Further elements of the FSP Evaluation Strategy 2011-2014 are being developed.  It is expected that evaluation activities will include information about client, service provider and other stakeholder experiences, as well as data collected as a result of the FSP performance framework.

Evaluations of the MyTime for Grandparents peer support program and the Protective Behaviours Pilot are included in the FSP Evaluation Strategy.

FSP finalised evaluation and research activities

Older evaluation products

Information Exchanges (formerly Clearinghouses)

Child Family Community Australia (CFCA)

Child Family Community Australia is a new information exchange at the Australian Institute of Family Studies (AIFS).

The CFCA information exchange is a product of the amalgamation of three AIFS clearinghouses - the National Child Protection Clearinghouse, Australian Family Relationships Clearinghouse and Communities and Families Clearinghouse Australia.

The CFCA information exchange began operation on 30 March 2012, and is a central point of knowledge translation and exchange for professionals in the child, family and community sectors. 

The new website can be found at: http://www.aifs.gov.au/cfca/

Complaints process

All Family Support Program (FSP) providers are required to have procedures in place to receive feedback on their services, including complaints. Information on a service provider's complaints policy is available at the service outlet. If you wish to make a complaint about a FSP Service, contact the service provider management directly in the first instance.

If you are not comfortable talking directly with the service provider or if you are not satisfied with how your complaint has been handled by the provider, please contact the DSS Feedback Coordination Team:

Ph: 1800 634 035
Fax: (02) 6133 8442
Email: complaints@dss.gov.au

Post:
DSS Feedback Coordination Team
PO Box 7576
Canberra Business Centre
ACT 2610

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