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Media Release by Senator the Hon Kay Patterson

Howard Government helps separated parents maintain contact with their children

A Howard Government funded program to help separated or divorced parents stay in contact with their children has received an extra three quarters of a million dollars.

The Minister for Family and Community Services, Senator Kay Patterson, today said the additional funding to Anglicare WA’s Mums and Dads Forever service, under the Contact Orders Program, would bolster their capacity to help families in crisis.

“Anglicare WA was one of three organisations funded in 1999 under the Family Relationships Services Program to pilot the Contact Orders Program,”
Senator Patterson said.

“Such has been the success of the Program, dubbed Mums and Dads Forever by Anglicare WA, that the Howard Government has continued to fund the service and is now providing an extra $738,000 to expand the Anglicare service.

“Mums and Dads Forever has delivered positive outcomes for nine out of ten people using the service – many of whom have already tried to resolve their contact problems in court.

“Too often it is the children who suffer most following relationship breakdown and the Contact Orders Program seeks to make the well-being of children the central focus by helping separated or divorced parents resolve disputes so that their children can benefit by having contact with both parents.

“Mums and Dads Forever uses a range of interventions such as counselling, mediation, and group work to assist families where contact orders have been breached or contact arrangements are difficult to achieve.

“The Howard Government is also undertaking the most fundamental reform of the family law system in the 30 years.

“The $400 million family law reform package includes the introduction of the recently announced 65 Family Relationship Centres and new family relationship services at 33 locations to further boost early intervention and prevention services aimed at keeping families together,” Senator Patterson said.