Streamlining these services, along with Family Law Services, into the Family Support Program provides a significant opportunity for the community sector and government to collaborate in response to a wide range of social needs. They will be supported by national services including:
- Family and Relationship Advice Line,
- Family Relationships Online,
- Mensline and
- Raising Children Network.
The Family Relationship Advice Line is a national telephone service providing free information, advice and referral to assist people affected by family relationship or separation issues. Where appropriate, family dispute resolution may also be provided.
The Advice Line is available from 8am to 8pm Monday to Friday, and 10am to 4pm on Saturday (local time), except on national public holidays.
The Family Relationships Online website provides individuals and families with information about family relationship issues, ranging from building better relationships to dispute resolution.
The website also provides information on a range of family relationship services available across Australia that can help families with relationship issues, including helping separated parents with their parenting arrangements for children.
Mensline Australia is a national, 24 hour, seven days a week telephone support service available for the cost of a local call. Mensline Australia is dedicated to helping men and their families to deal with their family relationship issues.
These services provide professional, anonymous and confidential short-term counselling over the telephone and makes referrals to men's services and support programs in local areas. Additional support is available through the Mensline Call-back service and via the Mensline Australia website.
Services include telephone counselling, information and referral services.
The Raising Children Network website provides centralised, Australian-focused, evidence based information for parents and carers of children from birth to fifteen years of age.
It also provides information for those who work with parents.
The Raising Children Network team develops and manages the website and is made up of three consortium members:
- Murdoch Children's Research Institutes' Centre for Community Child Health at The Royal Children's Hospital in Melbourne,
- Smart Population Foundation, and
- Parenting Research Centre.
Background and funding
The Raising Children Network website is an award winning peer reviewed site for parents and carers of children from birth to fifteen years, and also relevant practitioners. It is funded to help support families and children.
The website arose from the Parenting Information Project in 2004, which found that parents wanted a single source of reliable and easily accessible information on parenting which was government-sponsored and therefore credible and trustworthy.
The website was launched on 17 May 2006 and has received over 17 million visits to date. Since its launch, the website has been expanded to include information for parents of teenagers (up to fifteen years), information for parents of children with disabilities, including Autism Spectrum Disorder, and other interactive products and online forums.
The website has the following objectives:
- providing assistance in caring for children
- providing information on being a parent
- assisting professionals
- facilitating parents in the use of professional services
- facilitating community connectedness
- facilitating community and professional partnerships