Media Release by The Hon Jenny Macklin MP

$277 million to build strong families

Joint Media Release with:

  • The Hon Robert McClelland MP, Attorney General

Services to help families build strong and positive relationships will receive more than $277 million in Australian Government funding over the next three years, through the extension of grants to family services providers across the country.

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.

Minister for Families, Housing, Community Services and Indigenous Affairs, Jenny Macklin and Attorney-General Robert McClelland said the Family Relationship Services Program would be delivered nationally by 136 providers.

Under the program, family relationship service providers are being placed on three-year funding agreements to ensure ongoing certainty for both providers and their clients.

“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 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.

There are 268 early intervention services with extended funding agreements under the program which include:

  • 74 men and family relationship services delivering counselling, skills training, education and dispute services to assist men improve and better manage their family relationships.
  • 12 adolescent mediation and family therapy services, providing assistance to young people and their parents or caregivers experiencing conflict or difficulties, including youth homelessness.
  • Nine specialised family violence services, providing whole-of-family interventions using approaches that ensure the safety and well-being of children.
  • 100 family relationship education and skills training services, assisting men and women to develop skills to foster positive, stable relationships with partners and family.
  • Six services for families who have entered Australia under the Humanitarian Entry Program. These services provide information about life in Australia, including customs, laws and the role expectations of males and females to help families to adjust to Australian culture.
  • 67 family relationship counselling services, helping couples maintain appropriate relationships and care, welfare and development of children.
  • Mensline, providing a national telephone counselling service.

143 post-separation services with extended funding agreements help parents build positive and cooperative co-parenting relationships. They include:

  • 42 children’s contact services, enabling the safe transfer of children and supervised visits when families separate.
  • 16 parenting orders program services, assisting separated or divorced parents facing problems deal with conflict about parenting arrangements.
  • 24 family dispute services, helping clients reach agreements and resolve family law disputes
  • 36 regional family dispute services,
  • 25 family relationship centres providing an alternative to family law litigation.