Edition 24 - April 2009

Welcome to the 24th edition of the Family Relationship Services Program (FRSP) Sector e-News.

Some of the interesting topics for you this month include:

  • the evaluation of Family Relationship Services Australia
  • information about National Families Week 2009
  • having your say about how the family law reforms are impacting on you, your service and your clients
  • launch of the Raising Children with Autism Spectrum Disorder Website
  • research study conducted by Deakin University on single parents and child support

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 you think the sector should be aware of.

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. Information about training and events held nationally can be found on the FRSA website.

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 please send it to the FRSP mailbox for consideration. Articles should be less than 300 words and in paragraph format.

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

Disclaimer: The opinions, comments and/or analysis expressed in this document are those of the author’s and do not necessarily represent the views of the Minister for Families, Housing, Community Services and Indigenous Affairs.

Hot News

The Family Relationship Advice Line will not be operating over Easter. 

It will close at 8.00pm local time on Thursday 9 April 2009 and will re-open at 8.00am local time on Tuesday 14 April 2009.

Sector News

Evaluation of Family Relationship Services Australia

As part of our commitment to ensuring the Family Support Sector has an active representative voice and remains informed of policy development and program management issues, an evaluation of Family Relationship Services Australia (FRSA) has now commenced. An independent consultant, Courage Partners, will conduct the evaluation on behalf of the Department of Families, Housing, Community Services and Indigenous Affairs (FaHCSIA). Courage Partners has extensive evaluation experience and we hope this process will provide valuable information which will continue helping us achieve our shared aim of working in partnership.

Courage Partners will be conducting a sector-wide survey of all FRSA member organisations as well as interviews with staff from a cross section of service providers, FaHCSIA and the Attorney General’s Department. The evaluation is due to conclude at the end of May 2009. Key findings from the evaluation will be distributed to interested stakeholders. For further information, please email Emily Magro at emily.magro@dss.gov.au.   

Celebrate how Everyone makes a difference – National Families Week

National Families Week 2009 will be held from Sunday 10 May to Saturday 16 May 2009, coinciding with UN International Day of Families on Friday 15 May and Mothers’ Day on 10 May.

The central aim of National Families Week 2009 is to encourage all Australians to think about and celebrate the many different people who make families united and strong, and the many different types of families across society, each deserving respect and acknowledgement. The theme is:  National Families Week – Celebrate how everyone makes a difference.

This National Families Week, you’re encouraged to explore ways in which you can recognise, value and support the people who make a difference to the wellbeing of your family. You could say thanks to a family member who has made a difference, do something with your family that helps others, take time to reflect on who makes up your family, take a walk or play a game and have some fun together as a family. Please visit our website for more ideas.

Each year, tens of thousands of people and hundreds of organisations celebrate National Families Week – Australia’s annual celebration of the vital role of families. In 2008 over 120,000 people participated in National Families Week events around Australia, illustrating the widespread importance of families within the community.

The Government, through the Department of Families, Housing, Community Services and Indigenous Affairs (FaHCSIA), is sponsoring National Families Week 2009 with Families Australia. Centrelink is also promoting National Families Week and providing support through its national network.

It is important to let us know if you are having an event to celebrate National Families Week. You may register your event on the Families Australia website. Once you have registered you will be sent promotional products in April to assist with celebrating your event. This year we have posters, balloons, temporary tattoos, notepads and postcards.
If you require further information on National Families Week, please email admin@familiesaustralia.org.au

Have your say about how the family law reforms are impacting on you, your service and your clients

Do you work in one or more of these service types?

  • Specialised Family Violence
  • Men and Family Relationships
  • Family Relationship Counselling
  • Family Relationship Education and Skills Training
  • Family Relationship Centres
  • Family Dispute Resolution
  • Children’s Contact Services
  • Parenting Orders Program

If so, the Australian Institute of Family Studies would like to hear your views about how the family law reforms have impacted on your service and its clients.

We would like to invite all staff members that are employed in FRSP-funded services to complete a short web-based survey about the family law reforms to be conducted in April.

The survey can be completed online or downloaded as a hard copy. Your responses are strictly confidential and no information about individuals (or the agencies they work for) will be identified in reporting the findings of the study.

This is a great opportunity for you to have your say - we want to hear about your experiences and opinions.

You can tell us your thoughts about:

  • how the changes to the family law system are working in your services
  • what is working well
  • what could be done better
  • how the reforms are affecting the people who use your service.

An email explaining how to access the survey will be circulated to all services in receipt of FRSP funding in early April.

If you would like to have your say about the reforms by participating in the survey, look out for this email or alternatively you can contact Kelly Hand (Manager, Service Provision Project) on 1800 352 275 or email familylawevaluation@aifs.gov.au.

Resource Updates

Raising Children with Autism Spectrum Disorder Website Launched

The Raising Children Network proudly announces the launch of Raising Children with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD). The website, part of the Federal Government’s Helping Children with Autism Package, is intended to assist and support Australian families and professionals by providing quality assured parenting information and resources, and improving connections between families, professionals and services.

The Raising Children website launches three main features as part of this first phase:

  1. Learning about ASD – information to better understand the condition
  2. Parent Guide to Therapies – detailed descriptions of common therapies and interventions, including reference to the evidence, safety and financial considerations; and
  3. Interactive ASD Service Pathfinder - to help parents navigate the relevant service and support systems in each state and territory.

Online discussion forums enable parents and professionals to share experiences and tips about raising children with ASD.

The ASD content launched on the Raising Children website is the first wave of more information and resources that will be added over the coming months. We invite you to let us know what you think so far by completing our feedback form.

With over eight million visitors since its launch in May 2006, the Raising Children website has established itself as the most reliable and helpful Australian online resource supporting parents of young children. It is freely accessible, with quality assured information based on the best available research. It is delivered in a range of user-friendly formats using state of the art communication and web technologies.  

Single Parents and Child Support Research Study

Participants are sought for a Deakin University research study on single parents and child support. This study will explore the financial, social and health implications of not knowing how much child support an individual will receive from month to month. 

The study will last for 18 months, in which time participants are asked to complete three questionnaires in the 1st, 9th and 18th months, as well as a financial logbook each month for the 18 months.

After completing each of the three questionnaires participants are sent a $20 Coles Myer voucher in appreciation of their time and efforts.

Deakin University are seeking participants who:

  • are single-parents over 18 years of age
  • are eligible to receive child support
  • receive Centrelink benefits
  • have a child at primary school.

If you are interested in participating, please contact (local call) 1300 760 809 or email rebecca.poste@deakin.edu.au for further information.


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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 9 April 2009. Edition 25 of the FRSP e-News will be emailed on 4 May 2009.

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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