Media Release by Senator the Hon Kay Patterson

New Director of Australian Institue of Family Studies Appointed

The Minister for Family and Community Services, Senator Kay Patterson, today announced that the Government will recommend to the Governor-General that Professor Alan Hayes be appointed to the position of Director of the Australian Institute of Family Studies (AIFS).

Senator Patterson said Professor Hayes would take up the position on 9 September 2004 for a period of five years and would bring with him a wealth of experience and knowledge across the areas of families and children.

“Professor Hayes is currently Professor of Early Childhood Studies and Dean of the Australian Centre for Educational Studies at Macquarie University, Sydney and is the chair of the Australian Council for Children and Parenting (ACCAP),” Senator Patterson said.

His qualifications include a Bachelor of Arts and a PhD in Psychology. His publications, films, and video productions cover applied developmental psychology, with a focus on social contexts of development and issues related to risk, resilience, and individual differences.

Professor Hayes’ written works highlight the importance of early intervention, family and community focused promotion and prevention efforts and the need to resist short-term, single program approaches to complex social and developmental problems.

Senator Patterson said the Australian Government believes the family is the fundamental unit of Australian society, and family policy is among its highest priorities.

“For this reason the Australian Government funds AIFS to conduct vital research, such as the Growing Up In Australia study that will track 10,000 children over the next 10 years – the results of which will provide important information and data to help with the development of future government polices and programs.

“AIFS aims to inform and influence policy development, public understanding and debate about factors affecting family functioning and wellbeing and its goal is to be recognised as Australia’s leading provider of family-related research and information.

“Its research on families is important and highly valued, and Professor Hayes’ passion for this area and his undoubted skills will be a great advantage to the ongoing success of AIFS.

“I congratulate Professor Hayes and look forward to working with him and the opportunity his appointment provides for AIFS to become even more active in providing evidence-based policy advice to the Australian Government,” Senator Patterson said.

Senator Patterson said: “I would like to take this opportunity to thank the acting Director, Dr Ann Sanson, for her dedication to AIFS and steadfastness over the last 18 months in which she has led the Institute. I wish Dr Sanson all the very best for the future.”

Dr Sanson will return to Melbourne University on 2 August. Ms Denise Swift, a senior public servant for many years with responsibility for managing many programs relevant to the work of the Institute, will act as Director until Professor Hayes takes up his appointment.