What we do

The Australian Institute of Family Studies (AIFS) is a Melbourne-based  Australian Government statutory agency established in 1980 under the Family Law Act 1975.

The Institute has a proud record of high-quality, responsive and impartial research into the wellbeing of Australian families. Our vision is to make a positive contribution to the wellbeing of Australian families by advancing understanding of the factors affecting Australian families and communicating findings to policy makers, service providers and the broader community.

The Institute operates within the portfolio of the Department of Social Services (DSS) and is responsible to the Minister for Social Services. The Institute has ongoing relationships with various other government agencies, policy makers and the community sector. Staff at the Institute are employed under the Public Service Act 1999.

Major research projects

The Institute undertakes high-quality research that:

  • uses best practice and applies creative and innovative approaches to research design
  • is rigorous and ethical
  • is appropriate and cost-effective
  • is relevant and responsive to policy and practice settings
  • uses and expands the datasets available to AIFS and other researchers
  • encourages collaboration with other organisations
  • respects and values the commitment, views and participation of all those who contribute to our research

The Institute manages the following major research and research dissemination projects :


AIFS regularly prepares research submissions to government inquiries and reviews.


The Institute was established in February 1980 under the Australian Family Law Act 1975. The Act sets out the Institute’s role, functions and governance arrangements.

The legislated functions of AIFS are to:

  • help identify the factors affecting marital and family stability in Australia by conducting, encouraging and coordinating research
  • promote the protection of the family as the fundamental group unit in society.

AIFS podcasts

Leading researchers discuss significant issues affecting Australian families.

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AIFS news

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