Edition 11 - 11 February 2008

Welcome to the eleventh edition of the Family Relationship Services Program (FRSP) Sector e-News and the start of 2008.

We have some interesting topics for you this month, including the:

  • Free training for Family Relationship Service Providers in the new Child Support Scheme. There are still some places available for the free stakeholder training in the changes to the Child Support Scheme and the new Child Support formula starting on 1 July 2008.
  • New Family Relationship Centre web pages on Family Relationships Online to link the public direct to FRSP funded provider web pages.  The web pages provide information in their own words about the services and expertise that each Centre offers.

For new subscribers, FRSP Sector e-News is an ideal opportunity for you to reach 460 FRSP service providers and industry stakeholders to share service delivery news or to raise any issues you think the sector should be aware of. 

To contribute to the next edition’s news or to provide feedback about articles in this edition, please email frspe-news@facsia.gov.au


Robyn Fleming
Branch Manager
Family Relationship Services Branch

Hot topics

New Family Relationship Services Announced

The Department of Families, Housing, Community Services and Indigenous Affairs (FaHCSIA) and the Attorney-General’s Department recently conducted an open competitive selection process to establish 25 new Family Relationship Centres, 22 new Early Intervention Services, 14 new Children’s Contact Services and 14 new Post Separation Cooperative Parenting services under the Family Relationship Services Program across Australia.

The 25 new Family Relationship Centres will bring the national network to 65. The Centres are a first point of contact for people wanting information, advice and assistance with strengthening family relationships, preventing separation or resolving relationship difficulties after separation. The Centres also offer dispute resolution for families who are undergoing separation, as well as referral to a range of other services that can help. 

The additional Early Intervention Services will provide individuals and families with the skills, education and counselling to develop and strengthen family relationships and prevent family breakdown.

The new Post Separation Cooperative Parenting services are aimed at assisting highly conflicted separated parents to improve child focussed parenting. They will provide education programs to help separated parents understand the impact their disputes can have on children. The new Children’s Contact Services will enable children of separated parents to have contact with their non-resident parent in a safe environment, when parents cannot manage contact arrangements with their children.

The competitive selection process was advertised on 4 August 2007 and applications closed on 2 October 2007.

On 17 January 2008, the Attorney General and the Minister for Families, Housing, Community Services and Indigenous Affairs announced the successful providers for the new family relationship services.  The Early Intervention Services, Children’s Contact Services, and 24 Family Relationship Centres will commence in July this year, while the Kimberley Family Relationship Centre and the Post Separation Cooperative Parenting services will commence in October.


Stepfamily training for FRSP practitioners

Training is now available to practitioners in the FRSP and broader sector, which aims to increase responsiveness to and understanding of the needs of Australian Families.

This follows the successful submission for funding from the Australian Government to the Stepfamily Association of Victoria Inc (SAVI) to provide training on working with stepfamilies.

SAVI will be conducting 10 one day Repartnering With Children workshops.  These workshops will occur nationally between February and June 2008. 

Participants can expect to:

  • gain insights into the stepfamily as a unique family form, and the implications of this for practice
  • Gain creative ideas for working with stepfamilies
  • Link empowering theoretical approaches with practice.

To register your interest in attending the training in your state please call Daniela or Steve on (03) 94811500.

SAVI also invites expressions of interest from community partners in hosting the Repartnering With Children workshops. 

For more information, please go to the Stepfamily Association of Victoria website.


Sector News

New Family Relationship Centre web pages on Family Relationships Online

Over recent months, individual web pages have been developed in partnership with each of the Family Relationship Centres. The web pages provide information in their own words about the services and expertise that each Centre offers as well as contact details and an interactive map of their location.

The pages also feature photos of each Centre to illustrate the welcoming environment they provide, and to assist clients in finding them. They also include resources for downloading such as information on fees, service charters or newsletters.

Each page has also been given their own unique web address to enable them to use the page as a communication and promotional tool. For example, the Hobart FRC web page is located at Family Relationships Online website:

In addition to the new pages, the introductory page for the FRC network has also been enhanced to provide a simple, printable contact list of all Centres’ contact details just one click away from Family Relationships Online home page, removing the need to search for them.

These new pages are the first of a series of enhancements to Family Relationships Online arising from stakeholder consultations conducted last year.

What’s new on Family Relationships Online

Guided Search and Search Tips page

A new Guided Search and Search Tips page has been added to Family Relationships Online.

Family Relationships Online provides access to a wealth of information including hundreds of fact sheets and services. This means you may need to limit your search results to quickly find information and services.

The Guided Search and Search Tips page provides clear and simple guidance to help you eliminate irrelevant results and find the information that is most relevant to your specific needs.  A feature of the page is the use of specially tailored interactive forms that illustrate exactly how the various search options actually work.

The page leads you through several topics, including:

  • how to search for just information to read and/or a service to help
  • how to search for services or information by location
  • how to search for an exact phrase and/or a combination of words
  • how to eliminate irrelevant results by excluding words or phrases, and
  • the difference between pre-defined and free-form searches and when to use each of them.

There is a link to the Guided Search and Search Tips on every page of Family Relationships Online.

We welcome feedback on this page – or on any other part of Family Relationships Online.

Australian Parenting DVD A World First

Australia has become the first country in the world to offer all new parents a comprehensive parenting resource on DVD. 

The Raising Children DVD is the official companion to the Government supported, national parenting Raising Children website.  Every family in Australia will receive a DVD upon the birth of their child as part of the Australian Government’s new Parent Pack (distributed by Centrelink, along with the ‘Baby Bonus’ application forms). 

The Raising Children DVD is a comprehensive, quality assured guide to parenting children from birth to five, covering all the basics about child health, development and care, as well as information about family management and available resources. 

Professionals working with parents, carers and children can draw on the information contained in the DVD and the extensive resources found at Raising Children website for use in professional practice, or for onward referral.

To order a copy of the DVD, or to view the website materials, go to the Raising Children Website.

For further information on the Raising Children DVD or website, please email info@raisingchildren.net.au.

Australian General Practice Network Forum 2008

The 10th annual Australian General Practice Network (AGPN) Forum will be held in Darwin from 30 October to 2 November and will host a range of keynote speakers, guaranteed to challenge and inspire delegates.

The 2008 Australian General Practice Network Forum will bring together over 1000 delegates representing more than 250 organisations - all with a vested interest in primary health care in Australia.

Delegates including General Practitioners (GPs), board members, senior executives and program staff from within the Network, representatives from allied health care professions, government representatives, academics and other key players in primary health care will be networking, planning and discussing pivotal primary health care issues.

The Australian General Practice Network is the peak body representing 119 divisions of general practice and eight state-based organisations across Australia. Ninety five per cent of Australia’s GPs belong to their local division of general practice. The entire Network prides itself on delivering local health solutions through general practice in the areas of mental health, practice nursing, immunisation, aged care, indigenous health, chronic disease management and e-health.

For further information please email agpnreception@agpn.com.au

Programs for separated dads in the workplace

A Child Support Agency (CSA) program is helping separated dads in the workplace, contributing to businesses’ bottom lines – and winning awards.

‘Staying Connected’, a half-day workshop, helps separated fathers to take care of themselves and take control of their lives. It also supports business through helping improve the productivity of workers affected by separation.

This innovative program was recently awarded Suicide Prevention Australia’s Public Sector award, recognising special contribution and achievement in promoting awareness, education and information on suicide and suicide prevention. Suicide Prevention Australia is a non-profit, non-government public health advocate and is Australia’s only national umbrella body active in suicide prevention.

With around 40 per cent of marriages ending in divorce, the impact on employees can result in reduced productivity, increased absenteeism, staff turnover, commercial losses and accidents

The program was developed by CSA, Interrelate Family Centres and Dr Graeme Russell - an international expert on men, work and fathering from Macquarie University.

CSA’s mission is to support separated parents to transfer payments for the benefit of their children. CSA is also helping customers by listening to their separation issues and referring them to community support services.

Organisations such as Australia Post, Victoria Police, Urban Services ACT (now TAMS), the Australian Defence Force, the Metropolitan Fire Brigade (MFB) and mining companies have embraced the program and reported positive results. The program is about to be rolled out to the building and construction industry through our new providers, Incolink and OzHelp.

Each participant receives a workbook and a high quality resource kit to take away as well as information about other support services.

Further information is available at the Child Support Agency website or by emailing stayingconnected@csa.gov.au

BoysTown services: Kids Help Line and Parentline

Kids Help Line

Every day children and young adults across Australia are calling Kids Help Line about their experiences ranging from loneliness, alienation and family relationship concerns to having to manage significant mental health issues.

Kids Help Line is a national, free, confidential telephone, web and email counselling service for young people aged from five to 25 years of age. Telephone and email counselling is accessible 24 hours a day, every day of the year.

Kids Help Line employs experienced, professional, trained, salaried counsellors, who are recruited on the basis of their tertiary qualifications and experience in working with children and families. All counsellors undergo extensive training in child/youth-centred practice, child protection, crisis interventions, suicide prevention and managing mental health issues. Counsellors, of course, are also trained to work with the wide range of concerns that confront children and young adults from day to day. 

To meet the needs of Australia’s culturally diverse population, Kids Help Line recruits counsellors from across the multi-cultural spectrum.  Callers can choose the gender of the counsellor they wish to work with and can work with the same counsellor in an on-going relationship

Access and support for Indigenous young people has been a special focus for Kids Help Line.  All counsellors have received training in working with Indigenous children and young people, and an Indigenous liaison officer provides cultural consultancy and liaises with Indigenous services and communities.

A national referral database provides counsellors with resources in the caller’s own community or contact with local emergency services when needed.

Web and email services offer a wider range of access options to support and counselling. Over the last five years, Kids Help Line has met significant increases in the demand for on-line counselling, which can be a single session, on-going counselling or as an adjunct to telephone counselling.

For more information, telephone the Kids Help Line on 1800 501 800 or go to the Kids Help Line website.

Parentline (Queensland and Northern Territory only)

Parentline is a professional, confidential counselling service accessed by telephone and email, available for the cost of a local call from 8 am to 10 pm, seven days a week.  This service is provided by experienced Kids Help Line staff who are trained in a range of parenting issues and are also accredited in the Positive Parenting Programs (Triple P), through the University of Queensland.

Parentline provides evidence-based counselling to support parents and custodial grandparents with everyday and complex concerns. 

Parentline also provides professional counselling and training in a range of issues including family relationships, behavioural management and child development and this is supported by the Kids Help Line national referral database.  In addition, the Triple-P programs are available over the phone with supporting print materials.

For more information, telephone the Parentline on 1300 301 300.

Conference and Events

Seminars on Contemporary Issues in Family Research

The Australian Institute of Family Studies offers, free to the public, a series of seminars presenting research on national and international issues related to family.  The seminars go from one to one and a half hours and are designed to promote a forum for discussion and debate.  

Abstracts and full text of past and current seminars and information relating to them are available at Australian Institute of Family Studies website.

Seminars are held at 11.30 am on the third Thursday of each month at:

Level 20, 485 La Trobe Street, Melbourne
(between William and King Streets, and opposite the Flagstaff Gardens)

People wishing to attend a particular seminar should contact the Australian Institute of Family Studies on phone (03) 9214 7888 or email aifs-seminars@aifs.gov.au

To be notified about forthcoming seminars in 2008 or the availability of presentations or papers, please subscribe through the aifs website

Free Training for Family Relationship Service Providers in the new Child Support Scheme

There are still some places available for the free stakeholder training in the changes to the Child Support Scheme and the new Child Support formula starting on 1 July.

The Scheme is changing significantly and over the next 12 months you may be approached by separated families seeking additional information or assistance with their child support.

We want to make sure you have access to the information you need about the changes, to help you in your work with families and to inform your colleagues or staff.

You can choose a half day (morning) session to get a general overview of the changes or a full day of training which provides greater detail. For the afternoon session you can choose between a general and a legal practitioners stream.

Session dates:
Adelaide 11 February
Perth 12 February
Darwin 14 February
Canberra 18 February
Melbourne 19 February
Hobart 20 February
Sydney 21 February
Brisbane 22 February

Please phone CSA on 02 6272 8382 to enquire about registrations for one of the above sessions. If you are unable to attend and would like to receive a stakeholder toolkit, send an email with your postal address to: csaevents@ato.gov.au

First National Indigenous Family and Community Strengths conference - Our Culture: A Strength To Build On

14-16 April

Convened by: The Family Action Centre, The University of Newcastle In partnership with: The Secretariat of National Aboriginal and Islander Child Care Incorporated (SNAICC)

Fifth Australian Family and Community Strengths conference – Community Engagement: A Rewarding Business

16-18 April

Convened by: The Family Action Centre, The University of Newcastle

Both conferences will be held at The University of Newcastle, NSW, Australia

To find out more go to: Family and Community Strengths conference web page.

Resource Updates

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. 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.   

Family Strengthening Policy Centre – An American industry website

The following are a range of global industry websites you may find useful when exploring innovative practices, which identify best practice to strengthen family economic and social wellbeing:

1. The National Human Services Assembly, Washington, USA established the Family Strengthening Policy Centre website.  It operates as a focal point for innovative research, information dissemination, and advocacy on place-based, practice-driven family strengthening practices, programs, and policy.   Following are two recent practice-driven policy briefs that may interest you: 

To be kept up-to-date with emerging trends in America, it is recommended Australian practitioners and industry professionals subscribe to the Centre’s Family Strengthening e-Newsletter

2. The New Zealand Government website gives New Zealand families access to a range of online information and advice on parenting, child and family wellbeing to help them manage their family relationships.   Some of the information you may find of interest are:

  • Positive parenting information  - This webpage has practical advice on things kids need most as they grow to help parents to cope with difficult moments.  
  • Everyday Families - parenting today for your family's future - This booklet provides useful information for anyone involved in bringing up children - parents, grandparents, families and whanau.
  • Being a parent – This webpage has information and resources that cover parenting issues like how to encourage good behaviour among children and what to do when things go wrong.
  • Raising children - This webpage provides links to websites with information on raising children. It includes a list of sites, and descriptions of what you can expect to find on them.
  • FamilyWeb - This webpage provides links to websites with information for families, such as raising children. It includes a list of sites and descriptions of what you can expect to find on them.


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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 15 February 2008. The next edition of FRSP Sector e-News will be released on 11 March.

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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