Edition 15 - 16 June 2008

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

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

  • Mensline Australia - A unique and complementary role in the FRSP.
    Information and facts about what this service provides.
  • Kids come first in the NT! Some positive feedback that demonstrates the notable impact Kids Come First parent information sessions have on mediation and dispute resolution processes.

For new subscribers, FRSP Sector e-News is an ideal opportunity for you to reach 451 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@dss.gov.au


Robyn Fleming
Branch Manager
Family Relationship Services Branch

Hot topics

Funding agreement extensions

On the 2nd June 2008 the Minister for Families, Housing, Community Services and Indigenous Affairs Minister Jenny Macklin and Attorney-General Robert McClelland announced that 269 early intervention services and 143 post-separation services would have their funding agreements extended under the Family Relationships Services Program.

Early intervention services including counselling, skills training and mediation will be delivered along with post-separation services with the focus on the safety and wellbeing of children.

These services to help families build strong and positive relationships will be delivered nationally by 136 providers who will receive more than $277 million in Australian Government funding over the next three years.

"The three-year funding policy is an important step to guarantee certainty and clarity; it will mean organisations can provide ongoing services at the same time as providing essential training and career security for staff," Ms Macklin said.

"These programs give parents the ongoing support and assistance that can prevent family breakdown. If separation does occur, they can help minimise the negative impact on children," Mr McClelland said.

Providers with funding due to expire on 30 June 2008 will have their funding extended to 2011. Providers funded for two years in 2007 will be extended by one year until 2010.

Providers should contact their state and territory offices in regard to the funding agreements.

New additions to the Raising Children website for professionals

The Raising Children Network has developed a new section on the Raising Children website specifically for professionals, making it easier to access important information about working with and supporting parents.

By visiting the Working with Parents landing page, professionals can access educational tools, resources to download and easily accessible links to sources of information from Raising Children and other related sites.

Two special features on the Working with Parents page are Community Newsletters and Make a Book. Professionals who produce a newsletter for their school, preschool or organisation can access high-quality, reliable content, at no cost, to download or cut and paste into the newsletter. Each available snippet is a summary of key points from a full-length article on the Raising Children website.

Using the Make a Book feature, professionals can easily customise and print information and handy tips on behaviour, nutrition, development, safety, sleep and much more. These books are ideal to have on hand for easy reference, or for parents to browse in a waiting room or childcare centre.

For more information, please email info@raisingchildren.net.au

Sector News

The Family Relationships Online ‘Secure Site’ has been closed

The ‘Secure Site’ within Family Relationships Online, which had been used to provide practitioners with documents that they need (manuals, policy documents, procedural advice and guidelines etc) was closed on 23 May.

This follows redevelopment of the ‘Families’ area of the Attorney-General’s Department website as a 'one-stop shop' for all practitioner resources developed by the Department. Information that was previously available only through the ‘Secure Site’ can now either be downloaded directly from theAGD website, or sent on request.

Family Relationships Online is now maintained as a website aimed exclusively at the information needs of the general public.

Enquiries: FRO Help Desk

Mensline Australia - A unique and complementary role in the FRSP

Who runs Mensline Australia (MLA)?

  • Mensline Australia is managed by Crisis Support Services, a not-for-profit community-based organisation with 50 years of experience in telephone counselling services.
  • Crisis Support Services operates 10 lines including the national Suicide Call Back Service, the beyondblue Information Line, the Victoria Suicide Helpline and the out of hours Veterans Line.

Some facts - About Mensline Australia

  • It is the only national specialist support service for men with family and relationship concerns of its kind.
  • The service operates 24 hours a day, seven days a week, for the cost of a local call.
  • Mensline Australia is staffed by professionals - there are no volunteers
  • It offers a vital Call Back service, supporting 190 clients each month on an ongoing basis.
  • Mensline Australia receives almost 70,000 calls per year.
  • The service receives more than 5 million hits to the website annually.
  • It assists callers with issues such as separation, family violence, fathering and suicide.
  • Mensline Australia complies with the FRSP requirements.

What FRSP organisations need to know about Mensline Australia

  • A dedicated 1300 number is available for staff to warm link clients directly to MLA - we are keen to make better use of this facility!
  • MLA provides a supportive, professional service that can dovetail into your organisation’s service delivery practices - especially after hours and on weekends.
  • A referral email facility and a referral message bank facility are available for clients who find themselves in the MLA queue longer than anticipated, and you can record the client’s name and contact number on the MLA referral message bank.

Crisis Support Services is delighted to announce that Andrew King, known to many of you, has joined the MLA/CSS team as Manager, Men’s Services. He will be your first point of contact on MLA and will be taking a strong leadership role on Men and Family Relationship’s (MFR) in both policy and practice development.

For more information about Mensline Australia please contact Andrew King
on 0437 749 390.

Access Mensline Australia or call 1300 789 978

The third FRSHE Forum

Under the Family Relationship Services for Humanitarian Entrants (FRSHE), six service providers are funded in four states - NSW, WA, QLD and Victoria, located where significant humanitarian entrant populations exist.

FRSHE services deliver a range of integrated culturally appropriate family relationship services to families who arrive in Australia under the Government’s Humanitarian Program. FRSHE services conduct intensive work with humanitarian entrant families, offering a range of integrated family relationship services to respond to pressures that undermine family stability.

The Department of Families, Housing, Community Services and Indigenous Affairs (FaHCSIA) has hosted three FRSHE provider forums to date.

The first and second forum focussed on building networks, identifying good practice for FRSHE services, creating a learning community, service establishment and client engagement issues.

The third forum was facilitated by Claire Grealy, from Urbis. It was held on 13 May 2008 in Melbourne, with two providers from each FRSHE service in attendance, and it was a great success.

The forum was an opportunity to discuss future directions and current issues; share learning and good practice when working with FRSHE clients; and address emerging issues highlighted by the recent FRSHE Evaluation. The Final FRSHE Evaluation report will be released by the Minister for Families, Housing, Community Services and Indigenous Affairs in due course.

Discussions are continuing on a practical, workable method to share good practice knowledge and wisdom when working with culturally and linguistically diverse clients, with the broader FRSP.

For more information, email frspe-news@dss.gov.au.

Kids come first in the NT!

Top End FRSP service providers have noted a steep increase in the participation of Kids Come First parent information sessions and would like to share some positive feedback that demonstrates the notable impact it has on mediation and dispute resolution processes:


Regarding our telephone conversation earlier on the Kids Come First parent information sessions, I wanted say how particularly useful I find them to be. I have found that there is a significant difference amongst clients who have, and have not attended these sessions in that those that have attended prior to the joint session appear better informed about the process and their role within it, which I think gives them a greater sense of confidence and agency. Most particularly I find those who have attended are more aware of the impact of conflict on children and are more receptive in considering the best interests of the children.

I thank you for all your work in this area as it certainly helps towards facilitating more child friendly and durable agreements with clients.

Family Dispute Resolution Practitioner and Counsellor

Publication of costing methodology reports

The Family Relationship Services Program Costing Methodology Report and Companion Brief have now been made available on the FaHCSIA website.

In 2005, FaHCSIA commissioned Ernst & Young to prepare a costing methodology for the FRSP in an attempt to find a more accurate way of calculating the cost of FRSP service delivery. Due to insufficient data and the sheer complexity of delivering services to diverse communities throughout Australia, it was not possible to calculate the full cost of service delivery.

The final report highlights the complexity of FRSP services and provides a greater understanding of factors affecting service costs. The report is accompanied by a companion brief that commences discussions on the cost of services.

These reports can be viewed via the publications page of FaHCSIA’s website.

Printed copies of these reports will also be distributed to all FRSP service providers during June.

Conference and Events

Seminars on contemporary issues in family research

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

Abstracts and full text of past and current seminars and information relating to them are available at the 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, opposite the Flagstaff Gardens)

People wishing to attend a seminar should contact the Australian Institute of Family Studies on (03) 9214 7888 or at 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.

Training by the Institute of Family Practice

NEW!!!! Theories of Counselling (face to face or distance) will run over three days starting Wednesday 21 May,
Wednesday 4 June from 6-9pm and
Saturday 5 July from 9.30- 4.30pm at Parramatta.

Working with the Potential for Violence will be offered from 9.30- 4.30 pm on Tuesday 27 May at Campbelltown and Tuesday 26 August at Parramatta.

Clinical Supervision will run over three days starting Tuesday 22, Tuesday 29 July and Tuesday 5 August from 9-5pm at Parramatta.

Our courses for 2008 are accessible online or by emailing info@ifp.nsw.edu.au

Please phone us on (02) 8830 0755 for more information or to ask any questions about these and other courses.

Resource Updates

Child Support Scheme Reforms stakeholder eBulletin

The Child Support Scheme Reforms Stakeholder eBulletin is a great resource for information about the reforms being 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.


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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 20 June 2008. The next edition 16 will go out on 14 July 2008.

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

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@dss.gov.au.

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