1301.0 - Year Book Australia, 2002  
ARCHIVED ISSUE Released at 11:30 AM (CANBERRA TIME) 25/01/2002   
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Contents >> Income and Welfare >> FaCS - Family and children's services

Family Relationships Services Program

Under the Family Relationships Services Program (FRSP), community organisations provide family relationships services to men, women and children across Australia, using education, mediation, therapy, skills training and counselling.

The main types of services funded under the FRSP are: Family Relationships Counselling; Family Relationships Mediation; Children's Contact Services; Family Relationships Education; Family Relationships Skills Training; and Adolescent Mediation and Family Therapy.

Child Care Support

Child Care Support helps families to balance their work and parenting roles and to participate in the economic and social life of the community, through ensuring the availability of high quality, flexible child care services. Child Care Support also promotes early intervention and prevention initiatives to assist vulnerable families and children.

Child care services include centre-based long day care, family day care, in-home care, before and after school hours care, vacation care, occasional care, multi-functional services and Multi-functional Aboriginal Children's Services. Flexible and innovative services that can combine various models of care are also available to meet the needs of families living in rural and regional areas.

There were 457,800 Commonwealth funded places at December 2000.

Quality assurance for child care services

Quality Assurance systems have been established to ensure good quality care for all children in long day care centres and family day care schemes. The systems focus on outcomes for children and build on child care centre licensing requirements of the States and Territories. Key quality areas include the development and learning opportunities for children and the relationships between care providers, children, families and child care centre management.

The National Childcare Accreditation Council is funded by the Commonwealth under this program to administer these systems. Participation is a requirement for ongoing Commonwealth funding approval. A quality assurance system for care outside school hours is currently being developed with expected implementation from July 2002.

Parenting and Early Childhood Intervention initiatives

Under the parenting and early childhood initiatives, funding is provided for Playgroup Associations, Indigenous child care services and Indigenous parenting and family wellbeing projects. The initiatives: support the provision of practical assistance to families with babies and young children; recognise and support the needs of carers at home with children; and provide a wide range of activities in the areas of health, welfare, education and child care.

Child abuse prevention

Child abuse prevention initiatives involve research, community education and national data collection activities. These include:

  • establishment of the Australian Council for Children and Parenting (replacing the National Council for Prevention of Child Abuse). A key initiative is a national communications campaign on parenting children aged between 0 and 5 years;
  • support for the National Abuse Prevention Awards;
  • the National Child Protection Clearinghouse which disseminates information on child protection activities, and research to professionals and organisations working in this field;
  • early intervention parenting projects which provide grants for activities to support parents and prevent child abuse; and
  • development of the National Plan of Action Against Commercial Sexual Exploitation of Children.

Jobs, Education and Training Program

The Jobs, Education and Training (JET) program is a joint program of the Department of Family and Community Services (FaCS); the Department of Employment, Workplace Relations and Small Business (DEWRSB) and the Department of Education, Training and Youth Affairs (DETYA). FaCS has primary responsibility for overall program management and Centrelink has responsibility for delivery of the program.

JET is a voluntary program that assists with skill development and aiding entry or re-entry into the paid workforce. The types of assistance provided include: development of a plan to achieve labour market readiness; access to education, training and employment assistance; referrals to government and community services; and child care assistance.

People receiving Parenting Payment, Widow Allowance, Partner Allowance, Widow Class B Pension and Carer Payment, and some Special Benefit recipients, are eligible to participate in the JET program.

Youth Activity Services

The Youth Activity Services (YAS) program aims to keep young people engaged with their community. Under the program, in 2000-01 some $4m was distributed to about 93 sponsors throughout Australia to provide a range of innovative activities, generally after school hours, for young people aged 11 to 16 in disadvantaged areas. An additional $1.8m a year is distributed to 83 sponsors for the employment of part-time family support workers (Family Liaison Workers), to provide practical support and guidance to young people aged 11 to 16 and their families, in dealing with difficulties such as family conflict and other issues affecting their wellbeing as a family.

Reconnect Program

The Reconnect Program is a youth homelessness early intervention program based on the recommendations of the Youth Homelessness Taskforce. Reconnect aims to improve the level of engagement of homeless young people, or those at risk of homelessness, with their families, work, education, training and the community. In July 2001, 89 services were operating and a further 11 were being established through community development processes. The Reconnect Program receives $20m funding annually.

Supported Accommodation Assistance Program

The Supported Accommodation Assistance Program (SAAP) is a joint Commonwealth and State/Territory program providing services to people who are homeless or at risk of being homeless.

SAAP is administered on a day to day basis by State and Territory Governments which have service agreements with community organisations and local governments for services such as refuges, shelters and halfway houses, and also for referral, counselling and advocacy services. About 1,200 service outlets are funded under SAAP.

The Commonwealth has allocated over $800m until 2004-05 for the continuation of SAAP. The Commonwealth’s contribution to SAAP over the next five years includes over $115m for new or expanded services and program improvements.

For further information on crisis accommodation see the section Crisis accommodation in Housing.

Emergency Relief Program

The Emergency Relief Program provides grants to a range of religious, community and charitable organisations to help them provide emergency financial assistance to individuals and families in financial crisis. About 900 organisations, operating almost 1,200 outlets, are currently funded through the program. Funding for 2000-01 is over $26m.

Strengthening and supporting families coping with illicit drugs

In the 1999-2000 Budget, the Commonwealth Government announced a measure to assist communities and community groups to provide support to families affected by illicit drug use. This is part of the National Illicit Drug Strategy.

Funding of $11m over four years has been provided to FaCS to administer a range of early intervention and outreach strategies for families dealing with drug problems. The funds are provided to State and Territory Governments to purchase services from community based organisations.

Stronger Families and Communities Strategy

The Stronger Families and Communities Strategy aims to strengthen communities through investing in prevention, early intervention and capacity building.

Commencing in 2000-01 the strategy provides $240m over four years, for nine specific initiatives which are designed and driven by communities themselves in partnership with government:
  • Stronger Families Fund ($40m);
  • early intervention, parenting and family relationship support ($47.3m);
  • greater flexibility and choice in child care ($65.4m);
  • longitudinal study of Australian children ($6.1m);
  • potential leaders in local communities ($37.1m);
  • skills development program for volunteers and International Year of the Volunteer ($15.8m);
  • local solutions to local problems ($15.4m);
  • Can-Do communities ($5.2m); and
  • communication strategy ($8m).

Family and Community Networks Initiative

The Family and Community Networks Initiative (FCNI) is a four year pilot program running to June 2002. The principal aims of the initiative are: to improve access to information and services relevant to families and community organisations; and to enhance the capacity of communities, government agencies and businesses to work together more effectively to address the needs of families and communities.

The budget for the FCNI is $8.6m over four years.

Community Business Partnership

The Community Business Partnership has been established to develop and promote a culture of corporate social responsibility in Australia, through advocacy, facilitation and recognition. The initiative aims to encourage business and communities to develop strategic partnerships to create stronger and more self-reliant communities. The Commonwealth has allocated $13.4m over the four years from 1999 to 2002 to this initiative.

Volunteer Management Program

The purpose of the Volunteer Management Program is to enhance the operation of family and community services that involve volunteers by increasing the number of effectively trained and placed volunteers. The program funds 25 Volunteer Resource Centres, including 17 regional agencies, to 30 June 2002, providing volunteer matching and referral services throughout Australia. The 2001-02 budget for the Volunteer Management Program is $1.5m.

Voluntary Work Initiative

The purpose of the Voluntary Work Initiative is to improve the takeup and effectiveness of voluntary work among unemployed customers in receipt of Newstart or Youth Allowance. It is also a means of assisting Newstart and Youth Allowance recipients to meet their activity test requirements. Initiatives are also being developed that aim to increase takeup by Indigenous customers and those with a multicultural background. Volunteering Australia manages the scheme on behalf of the Department of Family and Community Services. Funding for 2001-02 is $1.6m.

National Skills Development for Volunteers Program

This program aims to strengthen the volunteer capacity in the community by providing training to volunteers in human services which focus on improving skills in the areas of counselling, working with people who have a disability, interviewing techniques, and the financial management of voluntary organisations. Funding for 2001-02 is $2m.

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