Edition 20 - November 2008

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

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

  • establishment of the Family Law Evaluation web page
  • new publications on the Australian Family Relationships Clearinghouse
  • Bethany Community supports Feeling Safe Being Strong project
  • eNews for the Child Support parents.

For new subscribers, FRSP Sector e-News is an ideal opportunity for you to reach approximately 600 subscribers, consisting of FRSP service providers industry stakeholders and individuals, to share service delivery news or to raise any issues of which you think the sector should be aware.

FRSP e-News seeks contributions from the sector on practice updates and policy issues relevant to the FRSP Sector. Should you have a topic of interest you feel the sector or industry stakeholders would be interested in, send it to the FRSP mailbox for consideration. Articles should be less than 300 words and in paragraph format.

To keep the FRSP e-News focussed on issues of interest to the FRSP, details about training opportunities can be emailed to Family Relationship Services Australia (FRSA) for consideration and information about training and events held nationally can be found on the FRSA website.

To contribute to the next edition 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 News

Updating FRSP Online contact details

A gentle reminder to let FRSP Online know when you change your contact details, or if the person to be contacted by FRSP Online changes.

It is important that your address and contact details are kept up to date on the FRSP Online database. Contact details are used by FaHCSIA and the Attorney-General’s Department to send general information to CEOs as well as to operators using FRSP Online. It is also used by other FRSP funded organisations and members of the public through the Service Provider Search function in FRSP Online.

Any FRSP Online user with a Service Provider Administrator account has the ability to update the majority of details for their organisation.

If you need to update address or contact details that you cannot modify, you will need to complete the Organisation Administration Form and fax the details to the FRSP Online Support Centre. The Organisation Administration Form can be downloaded from the FRSP Online login page.

Sector News

The Family Law Reforms Evaluation is now on the internet

As you may be aware, the Australian Institute of Family Studies is undertaking an evaluation of the changes to the family law system introduced by the Australian Government in July 2006. The evaluation comprises three main research components: the Service Provision Project; the Families Project; and the Legislation and Courts Project.

An exciting new development is the new Family Law Evaluation web page. The web page provides an overview of the evaluation and each of the individual projects, and will provide information and updates to participants during fieldwork periods. Links are also provided to information about the Family Law Reforms.

You can find the evaluation web page at www.aifs.gov.au/familylawevaluation

In the previous FRSP E-News we told you about the Family Pathways studies. The web page for this project can be found at www.aifs.gov.au/familypathways

The Institute’s web page also contains many resources for practitioners and families interested in family relationships and child and family wellbeing. Resources include our recent publications and links to the National Child Protection Clearinghouse and the Australian Family Relationships Clearinghouse.

If you’d like to provide any feedback on the new web page or have any comments or queries about the evaluation, call Kelly Hand (Manager, Service Provision Project) on 1800 352 275 or email familylawevaluation@aifs.gov.au.

Australian Family Relationships Clearinghouse (AFRC)

The AFRC is a research and information unit that disseminates current information on families and relationships, and practice and support services. Publications, annotated bibliographies, links to resources and conferences and a collection of family relationship practice profiles can be found at the Australian Institute of Family Studies

New and upcoming publications can be found at the Australian Family Relationships Clearinghouse Archive, including:

Family Relationships Quarterly No. 10
Articles include:

  • using routine data collection at FRCs to examine the ways in which mothers and fathers utilise services
  • the interplay between the wellbeing of a sole parent and that of their child(ren)
  • Program Spotlight on the Well Ways and Well Ways Duo programs
  • trends and statistics article on relationship and parenting skills.

AFRC Issues No. 4
Family Relationships and mental illness: impacts and service responses
This paper gives an overview of mental health problems, including types and prevalence, causes of mental illness, and family-related factors.

The impact of mental health problems on family relationships is explored, including the role of carers and relationship issues resulting from, or contributing to, the presence of a mental health problem. Approaches to helping families in family relationship services are suggested.

Join the electronic mailing list at AFRC-Alert, and receive notification of Clearinghouse publications and other news.

The Clearinghouse is funded by the Australian Government Department of Families, Housing, Community Services and Indigenous Affairs and the Australian Government Attorney-General’s Department.

Feedback, contributions and suggestions are welcome. Contact the AFRC on afrc@aifs.gov.au or Freecall 1800 352 275.

Bethany Community Support – Feeling Safe Being Strong project

Bethany Community Support based in Geelong, Victoria offers a range of family and community services. “Feeling Safe Being Strong” (FSBS) is a family violence primary prevention and early intervention program that targets primary school students in years 3 and 4.

The program listens to the voices of children as it weaves its way through a concept that seeks to ensure that children are given opportunity to create safe healthy and happy relationships now and in the future. Designed to be fun and engaging, the sessions progressively and gently work through a range of topics that tackle the ever growing social issue of family violence and its impact on children.

Art, craft, drama, discussion groups, and games are all utilised to explore areas of friendship, difficult behaviours, violence and safety and the children eagerly engage with the program.

One of the strategies developed by the program, the “echidna strategy”, sees the children reflecting on their own behaviour and the impact that might have on others. The echidna strategy is a metaphor for assertive behaviour and has shown itself to be a powerful tool. The students easily become engaged in aspiring to making “echidna choices” around how they respond to various situations they might encounter.

Working in the classroom allows for the discussion of concerning topics that can so often be overlooked or left unheard by adults to take place, recognising and exploring the fears and concerns of children. “What to do if you see adults using violence” and the accompanying “and what if those adults happen to be your parents” creates an opportunity for all children to become aware of safety in the family environment and can be just as important as the often portrayed “stranger danger”.

The program has undergone two evaluations, both of which have shown Feeling Safe Being Strong to be a useful strategy for assisting children in this age group develop and consolidate skills for healthy relationships both now and in the future.
A teacher training component is conducted prior to the program entering the classroom. Feeling Safe Being Strong has developed a parent education component to inform parents of the concepts and to offer support and information around associated parenting issues.

Feeling Safe Being Strong is a program of innovation, fun and engagement that actively works on self concept, resilience, safety and increasing opportunities for our most valuable resources, our children, to achieve their maximum potential for the future.

Enquiries about the program can be made to Chris Storm, FSBS Project Officer, or Russelle Beardon at Bethany by phoning 03 5278 8122.

Resource Updates

eNews for Child Support parents

The new Child Support Scheme came into effect on 1 July 2008. In the lead-up to the reforms, customers and stakeholders were kept informed about the changes via regular eBulletins.

CSA customers who want to continue to receive monthly emails will now receive eNews for parents, which delivers up-to-date news and information about CSA and the Child Support Scheme.

Anyone can elect to receive eNews for parents by subscribing on the CSA website.

A new-look eBulletin for stakeholders is currently being developed and will be emailed to subscribers in November. If you haven't already subscribed, you can subscribe here.


If you do not wish to receive FRSP Sector e-News, send an email to unsubscribe to frspe-news@dss.gov.au and include the subject header
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If someone you know would like to subscribe to FRSP Sector e-News, have them email frspe-news@dss.gov.au and include the subject header
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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, send it 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 14 November 2008. Edition 21 of the FRSP e-News will be emailed on 8 December 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 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@dss.gov.au.

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