What we do
The Australian Institute of Family Studies (AIFS) is the Australian Government's key research body in the area of family wellbeing. Our role is to increase understanding of factors affecting how Australian families function by:
- conducting research
- disseminating findings.
With a history of more than 30 years of researching and analysing influences on Australian families, we hold a wealth of policy - and practice-relevant knowledge - a foundation of knowledge that continues to grow.
Work conducted by AIFS' researchers provides an evidence base for developing policy and practice related to the wellbeing of families in Australia.
The Institute is an Australian Government statutory agency within the portfolio of the Department of Social Services. Statements of Expectations and Intent are exchanged between the responsible Minister and the Director of the Institute.
Major research projects
Our research activities include the following major projects and Information exchanges that the Institute manages under contract for the Australian Government.
- Australian Temperament Project (ATP)
- Australian Gambling Research Centre (AGRC)
- Building a New Life in Australia: The Longitudinal Study of Humanitarian Migrants (BNLA)
- Child Family Community Australia (CFCA)
- Growing Up in Australia: the Longitudinal Study of Australian Children (LSAC)
AIFS regularly prepares research submissions to government inquiries and reviews. Recent submissions have included:
- Issues paper: Establishing an Institute of Open Adoption
NSW Department of Families and Community Services (FACS)
Inquiry into the Australian Citizenship Amendment (Intercountry Adoption) Bill 2014
Senate Legal and Constitutional Affairs Legislation Committee
- Inquiry into domestic violence in Australia
Senate Finance and Public Administration References Committee
- Submission for the Parliamentary Inquiry into the Child Support Program (DOC 2 MB)
House of Representatives Standing Committee on Social Policy and Legal Affairs
- Grandparents who take primary responsibility for raising their grandchildrens (PDF 380 KB)
Senate Standing Committee on Community Affairs
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
- to promote the protection of the family as the fundamental group unit in society.