Edition 10 - 12 December 2007

Welcome Message

Welcome to the tenth and final edition of the Family Relationship Services Program (FRSP) Sector e-News for 2007.

Throughout the year the newsletter has attracted 200 new subscriptions – more than ever anticipated. Given the success of the publication, this newsletter will continue to be used as a key channel on communication with the FRSP sector and industry stakeholders in 2008. The newsletter will recommence in February 2008.

I would like to take this opportunity to thank all those people in the sector and government who helped make this newsletter a success. Your contributions enabled us to share information about new government policy and program developments, sector practices, resources and achievements across the non-government sector.

I wish you all a very Merry Christmas and a safe and Happy New Year.


Robyn Fleming
Branch Manager
Family Relationship Services Branch

Hot topics

FRSP Online update

A release is scheduled for the middle of December, the changes include:

  • A support information button
  • ability to search for activities by Client ID
  • quick search button by Client ID/Activity ID/Session ID
  • ability to search on primary and non-primary professionals
  • ability for the FRSP Online Support Centre to upload/update documents currently available from the downloads page
  • changes to questions relating to parenting agreement outcomes (Form 5 - Client Activity Outcome)

If you have any questions in relation to the update, contact the FRSP Online Support Team on 1300 137 305 or frsponline@facsia.gov.au.

Selection Process for new Program

Prior to the election being called, the Government approved a selection process for the new Supporting Children after Separation Program.  This is one of the new regional service types under the Family Relationship Services Program announced in the 2007 Federal Budget.

The new Supporting Children after Separation Program will assist children from separating families in regional areas to deal with issues arising from the breakdown in their parent’s relationship and to be able to participate in decisions that impact on them.

The aim of this new service type is to support children within the context of their family to manage and enhance their relationships during and after family separation.

Subject to confirmation by the incoming Government, it is anticipated that the selection process for community organisations to establish 38 services in regional areas will be advertised in early 2008 with locations being announced at that time. Services are scheduled to open in October 2008.

For further information, go to the Attorney-General’s Department website.

New competency-based qualifications for practitioners

On 24 September, the national and state training Ministers signed off the following
qualifications for endorsement and inclusion into the Community Services Training Package (CHC02):

  1. CHC42207 Certificate IV in Children’s Contact Service Work
  2. CHC51807 Diploma of Children’s Contact Service Work
  3. CHC51707 Diploma of Family Intake and Support Work
  4. CHC80107 Vocational Graduate Diploma of Relationship Counselling
  5. CHC80207 Vocational Graduate Diploma of Family Dispute Resolution

As the qualifications are now endorsed, Registered Training Organisations (RTOs) can apply to their State Training Authority to have these qualifications added to their scope of practice.
To identify which RTO will offer these qualifications, practitioners can search via the National Training Information Service website. Please note that there will be a 6-8 week delay for the details of RTOs and the qualifications framework to be added to this database. In the meantime, industry can contact their State Training Authority, who may be able to indicate which RTOs have added the above qualifications to their scope of practice.

RTOs and employers can purchase the CHC02 which includes the above qualifications from the Community Services and Health Industry Skills Council (ISC) for $88 (includes GST). It is expected that the CHC02 Version 3 will be available late November. Alternatively, CHC02 Version 3 will also be available for downloading from the NTIS website - note that there will be approximately a 6-8 week delay in the qualification framework being added to the NTIS database.


Update on Family Relationship Services Australia (FRSA)

The FRSA Board is in the process of developing strategic directions and has now adopted the following purpose statements:

  • Our vision is for an Australian society that is enriched through respectful relationships in all their diversity.
  • Our mission is to provide national leadership and representation for the development and diversity of quality services and public policy relevant to individual and family relationships.

Within the context of broader strategic directions, the FRSA Board has identified the relationship between the sector and government as an immediate priority. Discussions are planned with senior Departmental representatives to seek the development of some agreed principles to provide a positive basis for developing this relationship.

In an example of effective collaboration, FRSA and representatives of the Attorney-General’s Department jointly facilitated a series of teleconferences on the implementation of compulsory dispute resolution during November. A summary of these discussions will be available soon. The teleconferences have helped to clarify some of the issues arising for practitioners and families; already there have been a number of developments to address areas of difficulty.

Members have been invited to engage in consultation on a number of specific matters and we will be expanding our capacity for consultation as the strategic plan and communications strategy take shape.

Family Relationship Services for Carers

A family mediation and counselling service, the Family Relationship Services for Carers (FRSC), has been established to help family members who are considering future arrangements for the care of their family member with disability.

The FRSC provides an impartial person to assist families to take into account the needs and interests of the whole family unit when developing future plans.  The service is state-wide and free of charge, with one provider selected in each State and Territory.

Following the FRSP Conference, FaCSIA met with the FRSC providers on 3 August 2007 at a workshop in Melbourne. FaCSIA is pleased to advise FRSC now covers family members requesting mediation and counselling on their future decisions about a family member with a disability, for whom they provide care.

Within this target group, priority will be given to families who are:

  • experiencing conflict or at risk of breakdown
  • caring for a family member with severe disability
  • considering future financial planning.

In addition, the scope of the service now entitles the target group to a number of general counselling sessions as a means of engaging with the family before commencing discussions around succession planning.

Sector News

Northern Territory Emergency Response ‘Family Support Package’

On 18 September, the Northern Territory (NT) and Australian Government signed an agreement to implement the Family Support Package of the Northern Territory Emergency Response (NTER).  This included a commitment by the Australian Government totalling $8.45 million.  One of the key aspects of this package was funding for the expansion of existing safe houses and the establishment of new safe houses in high priority communities.

Safe houses provide victims of Indigenous family violence with accessible, secure emergency accommodation and capacity to link them to other services as required.  Safe houses are in response to the recommendation contained in the Little Children are Sacred report, which identified an urgent requirement to provide resources to reduce the level of family violence and child abuse. Various safe house models are being explored to address the needs, safety, mediation requirements and rehabilitation of all victims and perpetrators of family violence. 

The Indigenous Family Violence (IFV) section has been working with key stakeholders (including the NT Government) to identify the communities that have or could require assistance to create safer communities for families and their children through the establishment of safe houses. These will complement other initiatives and measures as part of the NTER by addressing the immediate issue of safety related to family violence. Priority communities are being identified through discussions with local Australian Government Business Managers, NT Police, key agencies and organisations in the NT and the remote prescribed communities.

New Child Support Agency Woden Office

In November a new Child Support Agency (CSA) office opened in Woden

The CSA office, located in Aviation House, at 16 Furzer Street in Woden, houses 160 staff that relocated from the Belconnen CSA premises in October.

The CSA facilities at Aviation House will include provision for face-to-face customer service.

Customers can call 131 272 to make an appointment for advice and assistance on child support issues.

Anglicare WA is changing lives

The Aboriginal Services AnglicareWA office was recently presented with the award for Service Excellence for 2007 at the Anglicare Australia conference held in Darwin. 

The executive and Aboriginal Services Manager, Josey Hansen, attended the conference and accepted the award at a function at Government House, from the Honourable Ted Egan, Administrator of the Northern Territory.

Josey says the excellent strategy AnglicareWA has employed through Aboriginal Services is effective in the delivery of culturally inclusive services and is committed to providing quality services to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders throughout Western Australia. Josey’s role as Manager of Aboriginal Services is to facilitate its two functions; direct service delivery and provide corporate consultation within the agency.

AnglicareWA Aboriginal Services vision is to interface all programs with Aboriginal Terms of Reference (Aboriginal Ways) by showing respect to the traditional owners, customs and practices and guiding the organisation and individual programs to develop policies and practices that are culturally sensitive, inclusive and safe.

Conference and Events

No updates this month.

Resource Updates

What’s new on Family Relationships Online?

Dozens of new resources across a range of new topics have been added to Family Relationships Online including fact sheets, downloadable publications and content from selected external websites.

Several key pages have been redeveloped for:

Home pages have been developed for individual Family Relationship Centres.
A new publications page has also been added to the Home Page to make it easier to download and order key resources in bulk.

Improved ordering of search results has been implemented, so the most relevant information is more likely to appear at the top of the list of search results.

There is also a new search tips page with pre-defined searches and ‘guided search’ capabilities for new users and more of the key information resources have been converted into plain english.

The information kit fact sheets developed for the Stage 1 Community Education Campaign are out-of-date and have been removed from Family Relationships Online. However, revised and updated fact sheets can be accessed, downloaded and printed by visiting the Family Relationships Online website and searching under individual titles. The new titles are:

  • Changes to the Family Law Act
  • Compulsory Dispute Resolution
  • An Introduction to Parenting Plans
  • Violence and Family Law
  • Family Relationship Advice Line
  • Family Relationship Centre
  • Additional services for Families

Family Court of Australia publications available for order

The Attorney-General's Department is now managing the distribution of three Family Court of Australia publications:

  • Children and Separation - A guide to parents (FPB042)
  • Questions & Answers about separation for children (FPB043), and
  • Because it's for the kids (FPB047).

These publications are available to order by telephoning 1800 114 393 and quoting the bracketed codes.

Family Relationships Quarterly

For those of you new to the family relationships sector, the Department of Families, Housing, Community Services and Indigenous Affairs (FaHCSIA) would like to introduce you to Family Relationships Quarterly, the newsletter of the Australian Family Relationship Clearinghouse (AFRC).

Family Relationships Quarterly is published four times a year by the AFRC, which is funded by FaCSIA and located at the Australian Institute of Family Studies (AIFS).  The newsletter is a quality resource for providers of family relationship and support services, policy makers, and members of the research and broader communities.

The role of the Clearinghouse is to collect, synthesise and disseminate the latest relevant research and practice to family relationship service providers and practitioners across Australia. In addition to Family Relationships Quarterly the Clearinghouse publishes concise papers, AFRC Briefing, and more in-depth papers, AFRC Issues, to inform and support the FRSP sector.

The newsletter includes articles, literature highlights, research updates, upcoming conference and event listings and news in brief. Articles include program and agency spotlights, summaries of research and practitioner updates of interest to family relationship service providers and practitioners across Australia.

The forthcoming issue of the Family Relationships Quarterly (No. 7) includes the following features:

  • Identifying parental substance use and abuse in clinical practice
  • Action Research Project at Hobart Family Relationship Centre
  • Conference report – 2007 Family Alcohol and Drug Network (FADNET) National Conference
  • Program Spotlight – Anglicare WA
  • The Late Discovery of Adoptive Status
  • Conference report – Marriage and Relationship Education National Conference
  • Literature highlights – themes: Parental Substance Abuse, Intermarriages, Prisoners and their Families, Upcoming Conference in 2008 – locations: Sydney, Melbourne, Adelaide, Newcastle, USA

Publication will be announced on AFRC-alert - the alert service for new publications, resources, conferences and other important information from the Australian Family Relationships Clearinghouse.

Child Support Scheme reforms stakeholder eBulletin

The Child Support Scheme Reforms Stakeholder eBulletin is a great resource for information about the further reforms to be implemented from 1 July 2008. The bulletin will highlight different aspects of the new child support scheme and will help keep you up to date with particular issues that separated parents are concerned with, regarding child support and the reforms.

Below are links to the latest editions of the stakeholder eBulletins. If you would like to receive regular editions of this eBulletin, you can add your details to the Child Support Agency's Community Services Directory and be kept up to date with the latest news about the child support scheme reforms.   

Stakeholder eBulletin #5
Stakeholder eBulletin #4
Stakeholder eBulletin #3
Stakeholder eBulletin #2
Customer eBulletin #1

New CSA booklet for teens

The Child Support Agency (CSA) has launched a new booklet, Family separation: a guide for teens and website www.youth.csa.gov.au to support teenagers with separated parents.

Both resources contain practical advice on a range of issues that teens identified as being highly important after parental separation, including:

  • how to cope with their emotions
  • dealing with change
  • adjusting to step-families
  • being concerned about what the future might hold
  • managing their health and wellbeing
  • maintaining their studies

Family separation: a guide for teens and the youth website were developed in consultation with youth and community organisations and have been widely supported by service providers, including Kids Help Line, beyondblue: the national depression initiative and Relationships Australia.

The booklet and website also include contact details for a range of organisations that specialise in family separation, mental health, domestic violence and other youth-specific services.

This free booklet is available by ordering form the Department of Human Services website or by phoning 1800 040 972.


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We value your interest in this publication and seek your feedback about the articles published. Feedback notes will be kept confidential.

We also seek contributions from the sector. Should you have a topic of interest you feel the sector or industry stakeholders would be interested in, please send to the FRSP mailbox below for consideration. Those articles not selected will be saved and reconsidered for later editions.

Article contributions/feedback for the next edition is welcome by 12 October. The next edition of FRSP Sector e-News will be released on 12 November.

To provide feedback and/or to send topics of interest, email frspe-news@facsia.gov.au and include the subject header Feedback to FRSP Sector e-News.

Contact us

This e-newsletter is produced by the Australian Government Department of Families, Housing, Community Services and Indigenous Affairs (FaHCSIA) in collaboration with the Attorney-General’s Department.

To contact the editor, please email frspe-news@facsia.gov.au.

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