Annual report 2010-11

Annual report 2010-11

Annual Report – October 2011

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The Australian Institute of Family Studies has had another very successful year, again undertaking and disseminating research to policy-makers, service providers and the community. To this end, the Institute worked with a range of other government and community sector agencies to undertake research to inform policy and practice.

Following the last federal election, the Institute remained within the portfolio of the Prime Minister and Cabinet, with The Hon. Tanya Plibersek MP, Minister for Social Inclusion, assuming responsibility for the Institute following machinery of government changes.

Formal agreements have continued with a number of government departments and organisations, including the Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet (PM&C), the Department of Families, Housing, Community Services and Indigenous Affairs (FaHCSIA), the Attorney-General's Department (AGD), the Department of Education, Employment and Workforce Relations (DEEWR), the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare (AIHW), and the Australian Institute of Criminology (AIC). A new relationship has been formalised with the Australian Government Department of Human Services (DHS) to undertake research to inform the Department's innovations in service delivery to families and communities.

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1. Director's review

The Australian Institute of Family Studies (AIFS)1 has had another very successful year, again undertaking and disseminating research to policy-makers, service providers and the community. To this end, the Institute worked with a range of other government and community sector agencies to undertake research to inform policy and practice.

Following the last federal election, the Institute remained within the portfolio of the Prime Minister and Cabinet, with The Hon. Tanya Plibersek MP, Minister for Social Inclusion, assuming responsibility for the Institute following machinery of government changes.

Formal agreements have continued with a number of government departments and organisations, including the Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet (PM&C), the Department of Families, Housing, Community Services and Indigenous Affairs (FaHCSIA), the Attorney-General's Department (AGD), the Department of Education, Employment and Workforce Relations (DEEWR), the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare (AIHW), and the Australian Institute of Criminology (AIC). A new relationship has been formalised with the Australian Government Department of Human Services (DHS) to undertake research to inform the Department's innovations in service delivery to families and communities.

Strategic and Research Plans

Progress continued in meeting the goals outlined in the Institute's triennial Research and Strategic Plans (2009-12). Work against these will be completed and reviewed in the coming financial year. Development of the Research Plan for 2012-15 commenced this year. The AIFS Advisory Council has provided a valuable contribution to the direction of the Institute throughout the year and will be actively involved in the process of developing the new plans. As part of this development, the Institute will also be closely engaging with colleagues in relevant Australian Government departments, state and territory agencies and the community service sector.

Research highlights

This year, the Institute's research continued to make a substantial contribution to policy development in a wide range of areas, and has continued its monitoring and identification of key trends affecting Australian families and their implications for the development of policy and provision of services.

Family law research

Flowing from the evaluation of the 2006 reforms to Australia's family law system, which focused on how families and children fare in the system following separation and divorce, the Institute was commissioned to undertake further research into the circumstances under which shared care works well. This research was conducted for the Attorney-General's Department, in partnership with the Social Policy Research Centre (SPRC) at the University of New South Wales. The Institute is also in discussions regarding the possible extension of the Longitudinal Study of Separated Families (LSSF) for a third wave of data collection. Together with the data from earlier waves, this would provide further insight into the pathways that families take following separation and divorce, and their implications for the wellbeing of adults, children and adolescents - up to six years following separation.

The Institute's expertise in this area is well recognised. During the year, Dr Rae Kaspiew was invited to give evidence to the United Kingdom House of Commons Justice Select Committee inquiring into the operation of the family courts in the UK. The Institute's work has been extensively used not only in the UK, but also in other nations that are reviewing their approaches to family law. The Institute was also invited to provide submissions to Australian inquiries and consultations on several topics of priority for the family law system in Australia, including family violence, forced and servile marriage, and the role of children's contact services when family violence or abuse is alleged.

Longitudinal studies

Growing Up in Australia and the Australian Temperament Project

The Institute has continued involvement with two other longitudinal studies in Australia: Growing Up in Australia: The Longitudinal Study of Australian Children (LSAC), in partnership with FaHCSIA and the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS); and the Australian Temperament Project (ATP), with the University of Melbourne and Deakin University. These flagship studies are extensively used by Institute researchers and others, both nationally and internationally, including colleagues at the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD). As such, they contribute to the base of evidence that underpins social and economic policy, here and abroad. LSAC and the ATP have contributed data to analyses relevant to a range of policy areas, such as schooling age of entry; the needs of families in regional, rural and remote Australia; family violence and child maltreatment; and parenting, especially in relation to fathering. Key findings from the LSAC project have been highlighted in a series of documentaries broadcast on ABC TV - Life at 1 (2006), Life at 3 (2008) and Life at 5 (2011), with Life at 7 expected to be released in 2012-13.

Pathways of Care

AIFS has been working on a new longitudinal study of children and young people in out-of-home care. Led by the NSW Department of Family and Community Services, the study is being undertaken by a consortium from the Chapin Hall, University of Chicago, and the Universities of New South Wales, Sydney and Adelaide. The study commenced during 2010-11 and involves all children in NSW aged up to 17 years who came into care for the first time over a one-year period. It is the first study of its kind to be undertaken in Australia. Stage 1 was completed during the financial year, and the study will continue though to 2014-15.

Economic wellbeing of families

The completion of Street Stories: The Life around Here Community Study and Documentary, undertaken for DEEWR, provided a picture of the lives of families living in three disadvantaged areas of Australia. The insights from the study participants are pertinent to the design of policies and programs to assist parents in jobless families to find and sustain paid employment.

Past adoption experiences

During this financial year, considerable work was undertaken to prepare for a study into the effects of past adoption experiences, particularly the closed adoption processes that operated until the 1980s. It will be the largest study of this nature ever conducted in Australia. The researchers will be seeking to compile a complete picture of adoption experiences from the time of closed adoption in Australia, to gain a reliable understanding of the current needs for support and services. Input will be sought from people who were involved or affected in any way, such as birth parents, people who were adopted, adoptive parents, siblings of people who were adopted, grandparents of people who were adopted, and other extended family, spouses and children of people who were adopted.

Disseminating evidence and informing practice

Clearinghouses

AIFS clearinghouses are the cornerstone of our dissemination of research findings and are integral to the application of research to policy and practice. They identify, collect, evaluate, synthesise and disseminate the latest relevant research and best practice to service providers, practitioners and policy-makers. The resources provided by the clearinghouses are also widely used by academic researchers, students, the media and the broader community.

The Minister for Families, Housing, Community Services and Indigenous Affairs, The Hon. Jenny Macklin MP, launched the Closing the Gap Clearinghouse at Parliament House in Canberra, during 2010-11. This clearinghouse (which is operated in partnership with the AIHW) provides evidence-based research on overcoming disadvantage for Indigenous Australians, and was established in response to the seven building blocks endorsed by the Council of Australian Governments (COAG): early childhood, economic participation, governance and leadership, health, healthy homes, safe communities, and schooling.

Another clearinghouse, the Australian Centre for the Study of Sexual Assault (ACSSA), has continued its valuable work in disseminating knowledge and information for reducing sexual violence. ACSSA has published findings on a range of related issues, including attitudes to the perceived culpability of adolescent and adult victims of sexual assault, sexual assault prevention education, and working with male victims of sexual assault.

An important development this year has been the re-assessment of the knowledge-sharing activities of three of the AIFS clearinghouses. The Institute has been actively considering the amalgamation of the Australian Family Relationships Clearinghouse (AFRC), Communities and Families Clearinghouse Australia (CAFCA) and National Child Protection Clearinghouse (NCPC), which reflects the growing alignment of the topics and sectors serviced by these clearinghouses. Discussions will continue into the next financial year to ensure that access to the information is not disrupted and that any changes are seamlessly delivered.

Conferences

The Institute's conferences are an important forum for promoting the latest research on factors affecting family wellbeing. They also facilitate the sharing and communicating of knowledge among policy-makers, service providers and practitioners, researchers and community sector organisations.

The 11th AIFS Conference was held in Melbourne from 7 to 9 July 2010, which provided an opportunity for the Institute to celebrate its 30 year anniversary. The occasion was marked by the publication of Families Then and Now: 1980-2010, which was launched by The Hon. Anthony Byrne MP, Parliamentary Secretary to the Prime Minister, during the conference.

The conference program was structured around the Institute's Research Plan 2009-12: Sustaining Families in Challenging Times, and focused on the six major themes that shaped the plan: economic wellbeing of families; families and work; social inclusion; violence, abuse and neglect; family transition and family law; and children, young people and their families.

In total, 469 Australian and international delegates (including 144 speakers and 34 poster presenters) enlivened the conference. The three keynote speakers - Professors Jane Millar, Aletha Huston and Bob Goodin - were very well received, as were the panel sessions on family law, family violence; addressing family disadvantage; and fair, flexible, family-friendly workplaces. Planning is now underway for the 12th AIFS Conference, to be held from 25 to 27 July 2012.

Seminar Series

Information sharing is also undertaken through the Institute's Seminar Series. Throughout 2010-11, the seminars continued to attract eminent speakers to discuss their research findings with our own researchers and invited guests. Highlights of the 2010-11 program included:

  • Professor Marianne Berry (Director, Australian Centre for Child Protection, University of South Australia);
  • Dr Sharon Vincent (Senior Research Fellow, University of Edinburgh);
  • Professor Rosalind Croucher (President, Australian Law Reform Commission); and
  • Professor Barbara Pocock (Director of the Centre for Work and Life, University of South Australia).

Annual report on families in Australia

During the reporting period, the Institute was asked to produce the first of what will become an annual report that draws together recent statistics to provide a picture of selected aspects of Australian families. This year's report - Families in Australia 2011: Sticking Together in Good and Tough Times - was published during Families Week, in May 2011, and attracted extensive media interest from print, television and radio media outlets. Support for this annual celebration of families is a priority for the Institute and we are very pleased to be able to use this as an ideal opportunity to report on the progress of families in Australia.

Advisory Council

Throughout the year, the AIFS Advisory Council continued to provide high-level specialist advice to help guide the research activities of the Institute. Chaired by Reverend the Hon. Professor Brian Howe AO, the Council provided advice on a range of strategic matters, particularly the Institute's research focus. The Institute is fortunate to have the input of members who bring such intellect and social policy expertise.

International relationships and collaboration

Throughout the year, the Institute continued to develop relationships with key overseas organisations, resulting in several valuable collaborative initiatives.

Strengthening relationships in the Asia-Pacific region was a particular priority. In November 2010, Institute staff accompanied an Australian delegation participating in the Fourth East Asia Ministerial Forum on Families (EAMFF), with the theme of Safe and Resilient Families: Protecting and Empowering At-Risk and High-Risk Families. Thirteen other countries from the Asia-Pacific region attended, providing an excellent opportunity to strengthen existing links between the Institute and the countries represented at the EAMFF and to forge some new ones. In addition to the priority focus on our region, the diversity of our international collaborative relationships continued to expand, including international partners such as the New Zealand Families Commission, the Norwegian National Institute of Public Health, the OECD, and with those conducting national longitudinal studies in the United Kingdom and Germany.

As well as the overall interest in the Institute's research findings, there has been considerable interest in Australia's experience in articulating research and evaluation activities to inform and influence family policy and practice. Reciprocally, the Institute is benefiting from the experience of international colleagues in understanding the cultural complexities of issues affecting families, such as disadvantage, poverty, family violence and relationship transitions.

Summary

The year has certainly been a valuable and productive one for the Institute, its people, its collaborative partners and the policy-makers and practitioners who use its services.

As an organisation, AIFS has delivered rigorous, relevant and timely research that continues to be applied to policy and practice on a broad range of issues related to family wellbeing in Australia.

The Institute's expertise has been shared with colleagues throughout Australia and overseas. Indeed, our collaborative relationships have strengthened and extended to include an increasing diversity of partners within Australia and beyond.

Many visitors have been welcomed at the Institute throughout the year. However, one special highlight was the interest demonstrated by Her Excellency the Governor-General, Ms Quentin Bryce AC, when she and Mr Bryce visited the Institute in September 2010. Her Excellency's generous affirmation of the value of the Institute, and the contributions of those who have worked here across the three decades of AIFS operation, was highlighted as she noted the extensive use she has made of the Institute's research across her career. We were indeed honoured to welcome Her Excellency to the Institute and to hear of her continuing interest in our research and publication programs.

The Institute has again met or exceeded its key performance and trend indicators, while operating within its budget. It continues to make significant contributions to identifying and understanding family trends and how these are influenced by and, in turn, influence contemporary Australia. Planning has begun for development of the Institute's next triennial research focused on the key transitions experienced by diverse Australian families and the factors that influence the pathways they take through life.

Professor Alan Hayes
Director

1 For a listing of acronyms and abbreviations used in the remainder of this report, see Appendix D: Acronyms and abbreviations.

2. Agency overview

The Australian Institute of Family Studies is a Melbourne-based statutory agency of the Australian Government, established in February 1980 under the Australian Family Law Act 1975. The Institute operates within the portfolio of the Prime Minister and Cabinet and has close links with the Department of Families, Housing, Community Services and Indigenous Affairs, Attorney-General's Department, the Department of Human Services and other Australian Government portfolios, their departments and agencies. Staff of the Institute are employed under the Public Service Act 1999. At 30 June 2011, staff numbered 74 people, excluding the Director.

Role and functions

The Institute aims to increase understanding of factors affecting how Australian families function by conducting research and communicating findings to policy-makers, service providers and the broader community.

The AIFS Strategic and Research Plans set the framework for its research activities and guide the research undertaken, including commissioned projects. The Institute facilitates and communicates research findings through its research publications, conferences, websites, clearinghouses, information services, presentations, representation and the media.

The Strategic Plan 2009-12 came into effect on 1 July 2009. The plan outlines the roles and functions of the Institute for this annual reporting period. The key strategic objectives are to:

  • conduct high-quality research, relevant to policy and practice, on a broad range of issues regarding families in Australia;
  • expand, through collaborative partnerships, understanding of factors affecting families;
  • increase the effectiveness of our communications to foster greater understanding about factors that affect families; and
  • build our organisational capability to achieve research and communication objectives.

Organisational structure

The Director is responsible for providing the overall leadership of the Institute. He is supported by two Deputy Directors - Deputy Director (Research) and Deputy Director (Corporate & Strategy) - and an Assistant Director (Research), who work together to lead a team of managers responsible for the day-to-day work of the Institute in meeting its strategic objectives.

Research managers oversee teams of research staff who work on a range of commissioned and internally initiated projects, including five clearinghouses and three longitudinal studies:

  • Australian Temperament Project;
  • Longitudinal Study of Australian Children; and
  • Longitudinal Study of Separated Families.

The Corporate and Strategy area supports research staff by providing library, website, publishing, finance, information technology, external relations, human resources and other administrative services.

Outcome and program structure

In this reporting period, the Institute operated within the Australian Government's outcome and output framework published in the Portfolio Budget Statements 2010-11 (PBS). The Institute has a single planned outcome:

  • Outcome 1 - Increased understanding of factors affecting how families function by conducting research and communicating findings to policy-makers, service providers and the broader community.

All Institute activities are directed to achieving the outcome. Key performance indicators, detailed in Chapter 3, measure output deliverables.

The Institute's research and communications performance is detailed and discussed in Chapter 3, its management accountability performance in Chapter 4, and its financial performance in Chapter 5.

3. Report on performance

Review of program performance and contribution to outcomes

The Institute's research program is structured around six themes:

  • economic wellbeing of families;
  • families and work;
  • social inclusion;
  • violence, abuse and neglect;
  • family transitions and family law; and
  • children, young people and their families.

The majority of the Institute's research projects relate to more than one research theme. A summary of the Institute's research projects and how they relate to these themes is provided in Table 3.3.

The Institute conducts its research to deliver information that is:

  • rigorous, high-quality and credible;
  • relevant to current and emerging policy, professional, research and community interests relating to family functioning and wellbeing;
  • responsive, timely and targeted in its delivery; and
  • effectively and efficiently communicated to all stakeholders.

Research activities are either initiated by the Institute or commissioned by an external body. Institute-initiated research is generally funded from the budget appropriation.

Research projects conducted by the Institute vary significantly in both scale and type, and include:

  • research projects that provide evidence relating to current and emerging social policy issues;
  • major evaluations and reviews of government policies and programs;
  • longitudinal studies that provide valuable data on the social and emotional development of children;
  • specialist advisory services commissioned by government agencies; and
  • clearinghouses that identify, collect, evaluate and synthesise research resources about a specialist field and disseminate that information to policy and practice professionals.

See a detailed description of the Institute's research projects.

Performance in relation to deliverables

AIFS delivers research-based information and services through:

  • research outputs commissioned by external bodies, including literature reviews, reviews or reports on government programs and legislation, and longitudinal studies;
  • publications, such as the Family Matters journal, research papers, clearinghouse publications, and articles in externally published journals and books;
  • submissions made to parliamentary inquiries and advisory services to government;
  • communications services, including management of national clearinghouses, distribution of electronic newsletters, management of websites, and library helpdesk services; and
  • AIFS and LSAC conferences and the AIFS Seminar Series, external presentations, workshops, and forums.

The communication of research findings is targeted to three broad groups:

  • policy-makers, to inform the development and review of policies and programs affecting families;
  • service providers, to improve professional practice that supports families; and
  • the general and research communities, to raise understanding and knowledge of family functioning.

Table 3.1 shows the actual deliverables for 2010-11 and the estimated trend indicators for 2011-12 to 2013-14.


Table 3.1. Deliverable indicators: Actual (2010-11) and trends (2011-12 to 2013-14)
Deliverable indicator Actual Trends
2010-11 2011-12 2012-13 2013-14
Research outputs and publications 91 100 100 100
Submissions to parliamentary inquiries 9 6 6 6
Library Helpdesk responses 443 700 700 700
Bibliographic records generated 1,943 1,200 1,200 1,200
Websites and subsites maintained 7 7 7 7
Conferences and seminars hosted 9 13 13 13
Presentations given 104 80 100 80
External advisory, reference and referee representation 71 65 65 65

Performance in relation to factors affecting deliverables

The first and second deliverables - research outputs and publications - comprise the core deliverables of the Institute. Although the number of outputs was slightly lower in 2010-11 than targetted, they include several substantial and high-quality reports involving considerable research resources, as outlined in the Details of Research Activities.

The third deliverable - submissions to parliamentary inquiries - was exceeded in 2010-11 due to the number of relevant inquiries being examined in Parliament.

The fourth deliverable - communication services - generated a significantly greater number of bibliographic records. Although the number of Helpdesk queries was lower this year, this is likely to reflect substantial increases in the use of the Institute's websites (see Table 3.2).

The fifth deliverable - conferences, seminars, presentations and representations - exceeded the expected outputs for presentations and representations. Fewer seminars were held than anticipated due to speaker cancellations/unavailability and seasonal factors.


Performance in relation to key performance indicators

Key performance indicators

The Institute's research and communications performance is measured against five performance indicators. Combined, the performance indicators quantify the quality, relevance and responsiveness of the Institute's research activities and the effectiveness and reach of its communications.

Research
  • Number of commissioning bodies and funding agreements.
  • Number of public submissions to government inquiries that cite AIFS-authored research.
Communication
  • Number of AIFS publications distributed and downloaded (see also Publications).
  • Number of media mentions - online, print, television and radio (see also Media coverage).
Organisational capability

Table 3.2 shows the actual key performance indicators for 2008-09 to 2010-11 and the estimated trend indicators for 2011-12 to 2013-14.


Table 3.2. Key performance indicators: Actuals (2008-09 to 2010-11) and trends (2011-12 to 2013-14)
Key performance indicator Actuals Trends
2008-09 2009-10 2010-11 2011-12 2012-13 2013-14
Funding agreements 34 39 45 42 42 42
Commissioning agencies 19 19 21 20 20 20
Inquiry submissions citing Institute research 10 19 18 20 20 20
Publications distributed and downloaded 1,644,850 1,739,391 2,230,685 1,750,000 1,800,000 1,850,000
Media mentions 2,192 2,197 3,556 2,300 2,800 2,500

Performance in relation to factors affecting key performance indicators

The Institute's trend information derives from five key performance indicators. Trend forecasts take into account the Institute's risk analysis and its examination of external factors that may influence its future performance.

The first indicator - the number of commissioning bodies and funding agreements - was exceeded in 2010-11. The number of different commissioning agencies is dependent on the alignment of portfolios' policy objectives to the Institute's funded research outcomes. The number of funding agreements is dependent, to a significant extent, on whether agencies choose to rely on their own inhouse research or seek expertise externally, and the ongoing financial capacity of other agencies to commission research from the Institute.

The second indicator - the number of public submissions to government inquiries that cite AIFS-authored research - indicates the credibility and relevance of Institute research to matters of public policy and parliamentary scrutiny. Trend predictions will vary considerably in line with the number of government inquiries undertaken in areas of relevance to the Institute's expertise.

The third indicator - the number of the Institute's publications that are distributed and downloaded - significantly exceeded expectations. Though the number of print publications was substantially reduced as planned, the total distribution of publications increased, with a significant rise in the number of publications downloaded from the Institute's websites.

The fourth indicator - the number of mentions of Institute research in the media - indicates the relevance and timeliness of the Institute's activities and the level of community interest in the issues being researched. Media mentions in 2010-11 exceeded expectations due to substantial coverage during the AIFS Conference.

The fifth indicator - the qualifications and professional experience of the Institute's staff - indicates the depth of the Institute's intellectual capital and its relevance to a broad range of professional bodies.

Social inclusion outcomes

Much of the research conducted by the Institute provides an evidence base that may be used to advance social inclusion outcomes in Australia. For example, in this reporting period, the Institute conducted research on social inclusion/exclusion, care of Indigenous children, neighbourhoods and child wellbeing, rural and regional families, work-family balance, caring for children with a disability, homelessness, children in out-home-care, and sexual assault. The Institute's research outputs on these and other topics are used to inform the development of social policy and the delivery of social services.

Report on performance - Research activities


Table 3.3. Summary of Institute research projects, 2010-11
Project Economic wellbeing of families Families and work Social inclusion Violence, abuse and neglect Family transitions and family law Children, young people & their families
Research projects
Access to Early Childhood Education and Care Services   X X     X
Australian Temperament Project     X X X XX
Caring for Disabled Children X X X      
Driving Behaviour Study           XX
Economic Value of Positive Family Functioning XX         XX
Evidence-Based Interventions for Children and Young People           X
Family Attitudes and Values X XX X X XX XX
Family Law: Coordinated Family Dispute Resolution in Family Violence Cases Evaluation Study       XX XX X
Family Law: Evaluation of the Family Relationships Centres' Legal Assistance Partnerships Program         XX XX
Family Law: Experiences of Parents and Children After Family Court Decisions About Relocation       X XX XX
Family Law Reform Evaluation (and associated longitudinal research) X   X XX XX XX
Family Trends and Transitions X X X   XX XX
Family Violence Literature Review       X    
Giving Voice to Victim/Survivors' Knowledge of Sexual Offending     X XX    
Growing Up in Australia:/em> The Longitudinal Study of Australian Children X X X   X XX
Indigenous Justice Programs Evaluation: Diversion Programs     X X   X
Labour Market Issues for Families XX XX X     X
National Homelessness Research Project: The Influences of Unstable Housing on Children's Wellbeing and Development X   XX      
National Survey of Children and Young People in Out-of-Home Care: Scoping Study     X   X X
Negotiating the Life Course X XX X   XX  
Neighbourhoods, Economic Disadvantage and Child Wellbeing XX   XX     X
New Income Management Evaluation Framework and Baseline Data Collection Project XX XX XX X   X
A New Legal Frontier? The Role of Social Networking Services and Mobile Phone Technology in Facilitating Sexual Violence         XX  
Northern Territory Emergency Response: Outcome Evaluation of "Supporting Families"     X X   X
Parents and Children Articles: Raising Children Network           X
Past Adoption Experiences: National Research Study on Service Responses     X   X X
Pathways of Care: The Longitudinal Study of Children and Young People in Out-of-Home Care       X   X
Protecting Australia's Children Research Audit (1995-2010)           XX
Research and Evaluation Collaboration: Berry Street           X
Research and Evaluation Collaboration: Interrelate Family Centres X X X X X X
Rural and Regional Families: The Impact of Drought and Economic and Social Change XX X X      
Rural and Remote Carers in Australia X XX X   X  
Street Stories: The Life around Here Community Study and Documentary XX XX XX X   X
Stronger Families in Australia Study Extension: SFIA-II X X X XX   XX
Time Use in Families   XX X   X XX
Trends in Workforce Decisions of Women With Children XX XX X   X X
Women in Custody and Sexual Assault Survival     X XX    
Clearinghouses
Australian Centre for the Study of Sexual Assault     X XX    
Australian Family Relationships Clearinghouse X X X X X XX
Closing the Gap Clearinghouse (with AIHW) X X XX X X X
Communities and Families Clearinghouse Australia     X X   XX
National Child Protection Clearinghouse     X XX   X

Details of research activities

Access to Early Childhood Education and Care Services

Project duration June-December 2011
Funding source(s) DEEWR
Research Plan 2009-12 theme(s) Families and work   X
Social inclusion   X
Children, young people and their families   X

The aim of this project is to identify gaps in access to and participation in preschool programs. It stems from the COAG Early Childhood Reform Agenda and is designed to provide high-quality information on how to better define and measure "access" to early childhood education services in Australia, thus helping to inform the National Partnership on Early Childhood Education.

In 2010-11, AIFS commenced the project and devised a scoping study of the available data sources that will inform tasks to be undertaken in 2011-12.

Planned outputs Actual outputs Outcomes
Project establishment Project staffing undertaken, commencement of literature review and drafting of scoping study for balance of project Project team and tasks established

Australian Temperament Project

Project duration 1983- (ongoing)
Funding source(s) Appropriation; Australian Research Council (ARC) Discovery Grant (University of Melbourne)
Partner organisation(s) University of Melbourne; Deakin University; Royal Children's Hospital
Research Plan 2009-12 theme(s) Social inclusion   X
Violence, abuse and neglect   X
Family transitions and family law   X
Children, young people and their families   XX
Related project(s) Driving Behaviour Study; Economic Value of Positive Family Functioning

The Australian Temperament Project is a longitudinal study following young people's psychosocial development from infancy into adulthood. It investigates the contribution of personal, family, peer and broader environmental factors to adjustment and wellbeing. The Institute has managed and taken the lead in the study since 2000, in conjunction with researchers from the University of Melbourne, Deakin University and the Royal Children's Hospital, Melbourne.

The study began in 1983 with the recruitment of 2,443 Victorian infants and their families. Fifteen waves of data collection have been completed across the first 28 years of life. Aspects assessed range from attributes and assets - such as temperament style, social skills, family and peer relationships, and school adjustment - to problems and difficulties - such as antisocial behaviour, substance abuse, anxiety and depression. The focus has widened in recent years to encompass employment and career development, relationship formation and dissolution, marriage and parenthood aspirations, and social and civic participation.

The 15th data collection wave at age 27-28 years was completed in June 2011. This was partially funded by an ARC Discovery Grant. Information was collected about the 27-28 year olds' educational and occupational participation; psychosocial attributes and strengths; physical health; relationships with parents, peers and partners; attitudes towards marriage and parenthood; adjustment problems and risk-taking behaviours; and prosocial behaviour and civic engagement. For the first time in the project's history, the survey was made available online (although study members were able to complete the survey by mail or telephone if they preferred). The move to an online format appears to have been popular, with approximately 80% of young people surveyed selecting this option.

As with past surveys, ATP parents reported on many of the same aspects of life as their adult children. However, the Wave 15 survey also contained a greater focus on the ATP parents themselves (i.e., their own personality, driving experiences, community involvement, relationships). Information was also collected about the experiences of those who had become grandparents.

In addition to undertaking the 15th wave of data collection, statistical analysis and the dissemination of findings from the longitudinal dataset continued during 2010 and 2011. Issues investigated included: (a) the factors and processes that promote positive development; (b) the onset and persistence of risk-taking and adjustment difficulties (e.g., harmful alcohol use, depression); and (c) the contribution of childhood experiences (e.g., school bullying, child maltreatment) to later wellbeing and adjustment. Dissemination activities included a symposium showcasing ATP findings at the 11th Australian Institute of Family Studies Conference.

Planned outputs Actual outputs Outcomes
Wave 15 data collection Fieldwork completed - 986 young adults and 949 parents completed the surveys Comprehensive and relevant information about the development and wellbeing of adults in their late 20s provided that can inform policy development
Preparation and dissemination of journal articles, book chapters and conference presentations 4 journal articles
2 newsletters
5 conference presentations
Findings disseminated widely: research cited in national and international publications; media interest; requests for advice from other national and international researchers; invitations to present at conferences
Provision and maintenance of the ATP website Website updated Publications and study information made available to researchers, policy-makers, practitioners and study members

Publication(s)

  • O'Connor, M., Hawkins, M., Toumbourou, J., Sanson, A., Letcher, P., & Olsson, C. (2011). The relationship between social capital and depression during the transition to adulthood. Australian Journal of Psychology, 63, 26-35.
  • O'Connor, M., Sanson, A., Hawkins, M. T., Letcher, P., Toumbourou, J. W., Smart, D., Vassallo, S. & Olsson, C. (2011). Predictors of positive development in emerging adulthood. Journal of Youth and Adolescence, 40, 860-874.
  • Price-Robertson, R., Smart, D., & Bromfield, L. (2010). Family is for life: Connections between childhood family experiences and wellbeing in early adulthood. Family Matters, 85, 7-17.
  • Renda, J., & Vassallo, S. (2010). Year 2010 newsletter to all ATP members. Melbourne: Australian Institute of Family Studies.
  • Renda, J., & Vassallo, S. (2010). Year 2010 newsletter to all ATP parents. Melbourne: Australian Institute of Family Studies.
  • Renda, J., Vassallo, S., & Edwards, B. (2011). Bullying in early adolescence and its association with anti-social behaviour, criminality and violence 6 and 10 years later. Criminal Behaviour and Mental Health, 21, 117-127.

Presentation(s)

  • Lodge, J. (2010, 8 July). The bully-victim continuum: Stability of peer victimisation in school and patterns of internalising and externalising problems in early adulthood. 11th Australian Institute of Family Studies Conference, Melbourne.
  • O'Connor, M., Sanson, A., & Frydenberg, E. (2010, 8 July). What is the relationship between positive development and psychopathology in early adulthood? A comparison of three models. 11th Australian Institute of Family Studies Conference, Melbourne.
  • Price-Robertson, R., Bromfield, L., & Vassallo, S. (2010, 7 July). What is the prevalence of child abuse and neglect in Australia? A review of the evidence. 11th Australian Institute of Family Studies Conference, Melbourne.
  • Redmond, G., Gubhaju, B., Smart, D., & Katz, I. (2010, 8 July). Parents' education and children's outcomes: Is the gradient getting steeper? 11th Australian Institute of Family Studies Conference, Melbourne.
  • Smart, D. (2010, 28 August). How do young Australians in their mid twenties perceive life, relationships, marriage and parenthood? Marriage and Relationship Educators Association of Australia, Victorian Branch State Conference, Melbourne.

Caring for Disabled Children

Project duration April-July 2010 (extended to August 2011)
Funding source(s) Carers Victoria
Research Plan 2009-12 theme(s) Economic wellbeing of families   X
Families and work   X
Social inclusion   X
Related projects(s) Family Trends and Transitions; Stronger Families in Australia Study Extension: SFIA-II

The Caring for Disabled Children project aims to examine demographic characteristics of parents caring for their disabled children and to project the number of parents caring for disabled children in forthcoming decades, based on population projections by the Australian Bureau of Statistics. The analyses will pay more attention to older parent carers than their younger counterparts. The key dataset is the Survey of Disability, Ageing and Carers 2009. The 2006 Census data will also be used where appropriate.

Planned outputs Actual outputs Outcomes
Project report Project report being prepared Findings will contribute to the policy debate and planning concerning the needs of parent carers

Driving Behaviour Study

Project duration June 2002 - July 2012
Funding source(s) Transport Accident Commission (TAC); Royal Automobile Club Victoria (RACV); Appropriation
Partner organisation(s) TAC; RACV
Research Plan 2009-12 theme(s) Children, young people and their families   XX
Related project(s) Australian Temperament Project

The Driving Behaviour Study uses data from the Australian Temperament Project to examine the road safety behaviours of young people, and the personal, family and wider environmental factors associated with differing profiles of driving behaviour.

The study began in 2002 when the ATP sample was 19-20 years old. At this time, information was collected on study members' learner driving experiences, current driving patterns and risky driving behaviours. These data were used in conjunction with data from previous survey waves to investigate the personal, family and wider environmental factors associated with differing types of driving behaviours.

Similar data on driver behaviour were collected in 2006 when the young people were 23-24 years old. This second set of "road safety data" was analysed in 2009. Analyses focused on: (a) driving behaviour trends at 23-24 years of age; (b) connections between differing types of driving behaviours at 23-24 years, such as speeding, drink driving, crash involvement and risky driving; (c) stability and change in risky driving from 19-20 to 23-24 years; (d) links between substance use and driving; and (e) family, personal and lifestyle influences on young people's driving behaviour. An AIFS Research Report outlining the findings of these analyses was released in 2010.

During the reporting period, the RACV and TAC commissioned the Institute to prepare two journal articles focusing on the findings of the second phase of this project. Preparation of the first of these two articles, which examines the stability of risky driving behaviour over early adulthood, is near completion, and the second is underway.

Planned outputs Actual outputs Outcomes
Dissemination of study findings 2 conference presentations
2 journal articles in preparation
Findings will provide new Australian evidence to inform policy development

Presentation(s)

  • Harris, A., Vassallo, S., Smart, D., Cockfield, S., Gunatillake, T., & Harrison, W. (2010, 2 September). Risky driving among young Victorian drivers: A longitudinal study. Australasian Road Safety Research, Policing & Education Conference, Canberra.
  • Vassallo, S., Smart. D., Cockfield, S., Gunatillake, T., Harris, A., & Harrison, W. (2010, 8 July). Drink- and drug-driving amongst drivers in their mid-20s: Trends, stability and co-occurrence with other risky driving practices. 11th Australian Institute of Family Studies Conference, Melbourne.

Economic Value of Positive Family Functioning

Project duration January-September 2010
Funding source(s) FaHCSIA
Partner organisation(s) Access Economics
Research Plan 2009-12 theme(s) Economic wellbeing of families   XX
Children, young people and their families   XX
Related project(s) Australian Temperament Project; Growing Up in Australia: The Longitudinal Study of Australian Children

To date, few studies have investigated the social and economic costs associated with certain aspects of family functioning, the costs of child poverty and the intergenerational transmission of disadvantage. To establish the public value of positive family functioning and the economic returns to government on supporting families, Access Economics, in partnership with the Institute, has:

  • quantified the economic value of positive family functioning and the returns to government on its investment in supporting family functioning; and
  • assessed some family interventions in terms of their cost-effectiveness/costs benefits in supporting family functioning.

For the most part, AIFS' involvement has been restricted to the analysis of ATP data, which has been completed. The report, authored by Access Economics, has been published by FaHCSIA. The contribution of AIFS is acknowledged in this report.

Planned outputs Actual outputs Outcomes
Analysis of ATP data and comments on the report Analysis of ATP data Provision of a model that can be used to analyse the economic benefit of positive family functioning

Evidence-Based Interventions for Children and Young People

Project duration April-October 2011
Funding source(s) Commissioner for Children and Young People, Western Australia
Partner organisation(s) Commissioner for Children and Young People, Western Australia
Research Plan 2009-12 theme(s) Children, young people and their families   X

The Institute has been commissioned by the Commissioner for Children and Young People, Western Australia, to develop a compilation of evidence-based programs and services in Western Australia that demonstrate best practice or most promising practice in enhancing the wellbeing of children and young people. This project will result in an easy-to-use report that will profile around 40 programs and services for children and young people. It forms part of the Commissioner's larger Wellbeing Monitoring Framework, which is designed to develop an evidence-based, repeatable data collection framework that monitors specific indicators of children and young people's wellbeing.

The project involves conducting a literature search for evidence-based programs and services for children and young people and compiling an initial "long list" of around 100 programs or services. An evaluation tool - designed to assess the quality and evidence of the programs and services in the "long list" - will then be developed and used to shorten the "long list" down to a final "short list" of roughly 40 programs and services, which will be profiled in the final report. The focus of the 2010-11 financial year was the completion of the "long list" and the initial development of the evaluation tool.

Planned outputs Actual outputs Outcomes
Completion of literature search and "long list" of programs and services for children and young people Literature search and "long list" completed "Long list" delivered to the Commissioner and the project advisory group
Initial development of evaluation tool Literature search conducted to find example evaluation tools, and draft tool developed Draft evaluation tool developed

Family Attitudes and Values

Project duration July 2009 - June 2012
Funding source(s) Appropriation
Research Plan 2009-12 theme(s) Economic wellbeing of families   X
Families and work   XX
Social inclusion   X
Violence, abuse and neglect   X
Family transitions and family law   XX
Children, young people and their families   XX
Related project(s) Family Trends and Transitions

The aim of this study is to monitor attitudes, values and aspirations relating to family issues. The monitoring of such matters in the general population can improve understanding of family trends, such as patterns of leaving home, partnership formation and marriage, having children, parental employment and family life involvement, relationship breakdown, post-separation parenting, and repartnering. Monitoring and understanding of broad trends in family transitions is important for proactive policy development, and it can help shape the timely development of new research projects.

The Family Attitudes and Values research project commenced with the development of a comprehensive list of relevant measures that have been used in Australia and overseas. This item bank will continue to be updated as a research resource. The second stage of the project will involve a survey of values and attitudes.

Planned outputs Actual outputs Outcomes
Establish an item bank Database established Item bank to be used in next stage of survey design

Family Law: Coordinated Family Dispute Resolution in Family Violence Cases Evaluation Study

Project duration August 2010 - April 2012
Funding source(s) AGD
Research Plan 2009-12 theme(s) Violence, abuse and neglect   XX
Family transitions and family law   XX
Children, young people and their families   X
Related project(s) Family Law: Evaluation of the Family Relationships Centres' Legal Assistance Partnerships Program; Family Law: Experiences of Parents and Children After Family Court Decisions About Relocation; Family Law Reform Evaluation (and associated longitudinal research)

The aim of this project is to evaluate a pilot program for multidisciplinary dispute resolution processes in cases where there has been family violence and the parties are attempting to reach agreement on post-separation parenting arrangements. Funded by the AGD, the pilot is being conducted in five metropolitan locations. The process involves each parent and their lawyer, a case manager, a social worker or equivalent for each parent, and a family dispute resolution practitioner. The evaluation design involves six studies that use a mixture of qualitative and quantitative studies intended to canvass the perspectives of the professionals and clients involved in the pilot, in addition to administrative data. The six studies that form part of this evaluation are: Study 1: Initial interviews with professionals; Study 2: Focus groups with professionals; Study 3: Online survey of professionals; Study 4: Process and outcomes data collection; Study 5: Parent interviews; and Study 6: Online survey of parents.

At 30 June 2011, data collection for Study 1 had been completed in four out of the five locations and had begun for Study 4; research design and ethical clearance for Study 2 had been completed; research design for Study 5 had been completed, with ethical clearance pending; and design work for Studies 5 and 6 were advanced.

Planned outputs Actual outputs Outcomes
Methodology report
Interim report
Final report
Methodology report being finalised (due September 2011) Strengths and weaknesses of the pilot program evaluated
Will examine how, where there has been family violence, multidisciplinary dispute resolution can assist families to make effective post-separation parenting agreements

Family Law: Evaluation of the Family Relationships Centres' Legal Assistance Partnerships Program

Project duration May-December 2010
Funding source(s) AGD
Research Plan 2009-12 theme(s) Family transitions and family law   XX
Children, young people and their families   XX
Related project(s) Family Law: Coordinated Family Dispute Resolution in Family Violence Cases Evaluation Study; Family Law: Experiences of Parents and Children After Family Court Decisions About Relocation; Family Law Reform Evaluation (and associated longitudinal research)

The aim of this project was to evaluate an initiative of the Attorney-General's Department that aimed to help separated or separating families by providing them with access to early and targeted legal information and advice when attending Family Relationship Centres (FRCs). Sixty-four FRCs entered into arrangements with a range of community-based legal centres that provided a range of specified legal services to FRC clients. The evaluation design consisted of five studies of FRC and legal services staff and their clients.

The evaluation was completed in December 2010 and a draft report provided to AGD. The report was published by AGD in June 2011.

Planned outputs Actual outputs Outcomes
Methodology report
Interim report
Final report
Methodology report prepared
Interim report completed
Final report published June 2011
Policy-relevant research provided on issues related to interdisciplinary collaboration and client experiences of the FRC legal assistance partnerships program

Publications

  • Moloney, L., Kaspiew, R., De Maio, J., Deblaquiere, J., Hand, K., & Horsfall, B. (2011). Evaluation of the Family Relationship Centre legal assistance partnerships program: Final report. Melbourne: Australian Institute of Family Studies.

Presentations

  • Moloney, L. (2011, 17 June). Evaluation of the Family Relationship Centre legal assistance partnerships program. Legal Aid NSW Legal Ethics Conference, Parramatta, NSW.

Family Law: Experiences of Parents and Children After Family Court Decisions About Relocation

Project duration Research project complete; dissemination continuing
Funding source(s) ARC Discovery Project Grant (Australian National University [ANU]); Appropriation
Partner organisation(s) ANU
Research Plan 2009-12 theme(s) Violence, abuse and neglect   X
Family transitions and family law   XX
Children, young people and their families   XX
Related project(s) Family Law: Coordinated Family Dispute Resolution in Family Violence Cases Evaluation Study; Family Law: Evaluation of the Family Relationships Centres' Legal Assistance Partnerships Program; Family Law Reform Evaluation (and associated longitudinal research)

The aim of this project was to explore the impact of court decisions involving relocation disputes on families. In addition to a literature review, the study included:

  • an analysis of all Family Court relocation judgements handed down between 2002 and 2004 - access to the judgements was negotiated through the court and they provided benchmark data that assisted in developing understanding of relocation decision-making generally and the impact of the Family Law Amendment (Shared Parental Responsibility) Act 2006 (Cth) in this area; and
  • a series of one-to-one interviews with 38 mothers and fathers who had litigated disputes over relocation in the Family Court of Australia and the Federal Magistrates Court between 2002 and June 2005.

The Chief Investigators for this project were Associate Professor Juliet Behrens and Associate Professor Bruce Smyth of the ANU. Dr Rae Kaspiew, AIFS, was a Partner Investigator. The project was completed during 2009-10; however, dissemination of findings continued through 2010-11.

Planned outputs Actual outputs Outcomes
Articles published in refereed journals Five articles Increased awareness of the impact of court decisions involving relocation disputes on families
Presentations One international and several Australian conference presentations
AIFS Seminar series presentation

Publication(s)

  • Behrens, J., & Smyth, B. (2010). Australian family law court decisions on relocation: Parents' experiences and some implications for law and policy. Federal Law Review, 38(1), 1-20.
  • Behrens, J., Smyth, B., & Kaspiew, R. (2010). Outcomes in relocation decisions: Some new data. Australian Journal of Family Law, 24(1), 97-103.
  • Horsfall, B., & Kaspiew, R. (2010). Relocation in separated and not-separated families: Equivocal evidence from the social science literature. Australian Journal of Family Law, 24(1), 34-56.
  • Kaspiew, R., Behrens, J., & Smyth, B. (2011). Relocation disputes in separated families prior to the 2006 reforms: An empirical study. Family Matters, 86, 72-78.

Presentation(s)

  • Behrens, J., Smyth, B., & Kaspiew, R. (2010, 2 July). Australian Family Law Court decisions about relocation: Parents' experiences and some implications for policy. International Child Abduction, Forced Marriage and Relocation Conference, London.
  • Kaspiew, R. (2011, 15 February). Litigated relocation disputes 2002-2005: An empirical study. AIFS Seminar Series, Melbourne.
  • Kaspiew, R., Behrens, J., & Smyth, B. (2010, 8 July). Family violence in relocation disputes: A pre-reform exploration. 11th Australian Institute of Family Studies Conference, Melbourne.

Family Law Reform Evaluation (and associated longitudinal research)

Project duration April 2007 - December 2009 (Family Pathways to December 2010)
Funding source(s) AGD; FaHCSIA
Research Plan 2009-12 theme(s) Economic wellbeing of families   X
Social inclusion   X
Violence, abuse and neglect   XX
Family transitions and family law   XX
Children, young people and their families   XX
Related project(s) Family Law: Coordinated Family Dispute Resolution in Family Violence Cases Evaluation Study; Family Law: Evaluation of the Family Relationships Centres' Legal Assistance Partnerships Program; Family Law: Experiences of Parents and Children After Family Court Decisions About Relocation

In response to the House of Representatives Standing Committee on Family and Community Affairs (2003) Every Picture Tells a Story report, the Australian Government undertook a major reform of the family law system. The new system, which came into effect on 1 July 2006, was intended to: (a) help prevent separation and build strong, healthy family relationships; (b) encourage greater involvement by both parents in their children's lives after separation, and also protect children from violence and abuse; (c) in the case of separation, provide information, advice and dispute resolution services to help parents agree on what is best for their children, rather than contesting parenting proposals in the courtroom; and (d) provide a new entry point that is a doorway to other services that families need, and facilitate access to those services.

The AGD and FaHCSIA had joint responsibility for the implementation and evaluation of the family law reforms and for the associated longitudinal research. These departments commissioned the Institute to develop an evaluation framework and a broad methodology for the evaluation, collect baseline data against which the collection of future data can be compared, and undertake key components of the evaluation. The projects tracked the impact of key themes in the package - the sharing of parenting responsibilities, child safety and child focus - on the practices and attitudes of parents, service system providers and legal system players. A mixture of quantitative and qualitative methods using multiple data sources was applied across the evaluation and a final evaluation report was released on 28 January 2010. Requests for AIFS to discuss findings of this evaluation have continued into 2011.

The "associated longitudinal research" component extended into 2010-11 and entailed the preparation of a report on Wave 2 of the Longitudinal Study of Separated Families (LSSF) and a survey of adolescents with a parent who participated in the first two waves of the LSSF (outlined below).

Family Pathways: The Longitudinal Study of Separated Families

Family Pathways: The Longitudinal Study of Separated Families explored questions about separation and caring for children when a relationship ends. In Wave 1, which was conducted between August and October 2008, information was collected from some 10,000 parents who separated after the introduction of the reforms in July 2006. Of these parents, 7,031 were re-interviewed in September-December 2009. Findings from Wave 1 of this study contributed strongly to the Institute's evaluation of the 2006 family law reforms. A subsequent research report (completed in December 2010) outlined findings from both Waves 1 and 2. It highlighted, among other issues, the extent to which parenting arrangements, relationships between parents, and parents' views of their child's wellbeing have changed; family law system pathways adopted in finalising or changing arrangements after Wave 1; and factors linked with any changes in arrangements, relationships and apparent wellbeing. The AGD publicly released this report in 2011.

Family Pathways: Study of Adolescents

Family Pathways: Study of Adolescents focused on the experiences and opinions of young people whose parents separated after the introduction of the reforms in July 2006. The study complemented the longitudinal study by recruiting adolescents aged 12-18 years whose parents participated in the Longitudinal Study of Separated Families. Interviews with the young people were conducted between October and November 2009 and sought to capture their views about the changes in their families. This report was also completed in December 2010 and publicly released by the AGD in 2011.

Planned outputs Actual outputs Outcomes
Report on LSSF Waves 1 and 2
Report on Study of LSSF Adolescents
Further dissemination of findings regarding the evaluation of the family law reforms
Final report submitted on the LSSF and published by the AGD
Final report submitted on the Study of Adolescents and published by the AGD
Six journal articles published based on the Family Law Evaluation findings
22 presentations based on the Family Law Evaluation findings
Data collected and analysed to ensure the reforms are properly evaluated
Government, policy-makers, other stakeholders and the community informed about the impact of the family law reforms
Final reports released to stimulate media debate and many calls for paper presentations
Upon request, Dr Rae Kaspiew appeared before the House of Commons Justice Select Committee Inquiry into the Working of the Family Courts
The findings contributed strongly to the development of the Exposure Draft, Family Law Amendment (Family Violence) Bill 2010 and the Family Law Legislation Amendment (Family Violence and Other Measures) Bill 2011
Findings from the evaluation have also been used in responses by AIFS and others to the Exposure Draft and submission to the Senate Standing Committee on Legal and Constitutional Affairs Inquiry into the 2011 Bill

Publication(s)

  • Lodge, J., & Alexander, M. (2010). Views of adolescents in separated families: A study of adolescents' experiences after the 2006 reforms to the family law system. Canberra: Attorney-General's Department.
  • Kaspiew, R., Gray, M., Weston, R., Moloney, L., Hand, K., Qu, L., & the Family Law Evaluation Team. (2010). Family violence: Key findings from the evaluation of the 2006 family law reforms. Family Matters, 85, 38-48.
  • Kaspiew, R., Gray, M., Weston, R., Moloney, L., Hand, K., & Qu, L. (2010). The Australian Institute of Family Studies' evaluation of the 2006 family law reforms. Australian Journal of Family Law, 24(1), 5-33.
  • Kaspiew, R., Gray, M., Weston, R., Moloney, L., Hand, K., Qu, L. and the Family Law Evaluation Team. (2011). The AIFS evaluation of the 2006 family law reforms: A summary. Family Matters, 86, 8-18.
  • Moloney, L., Qu, L., Hand, K., De Maio, J., Kaspiew, R., Weston, R., & Gray, M. (2010) Mandatory dispute resolution and the 2006 family law reforms: Use, outcomes, links to other pathways, and the impact of family violence. Journal of Family Studies, 16(3), 192-196.
  • Qu, L., & Weston, R. (2010). Parenting dynamics after separation: A follow-up study of parents who separated after the 2006 family law reforms. Canberra: Attorney-General's Department.
  • Weston, R., Moloney, L., Kaspiew, R., Gray, M., Hand, K., Qu, L., & the Family Law Evaluation Team. (2010). Overhaul of the family law system in Australia: Its multi-faceted evaluation by the Australian Institute of Family Studies. NCFR Report, Fall.
  • Weston, R., Qu, M., Gray, M., Weston, R., Kaspiew, R., Moloney, L., Hand, K., & the Family Law Evaluation Team. (2011). Care-time arrangements after the 2006 reforms: Implications for children and their parents. Family Matters, 86, 19-32.

Presentation(s) (on behalf of the Family Law Evaluation Team)

  • Gray, M. (2010, 20-21 July). Improving the system: Identifying risk. 2nd Family Law System Conference, Canberra.
  • Gray, M. (2010, 6 August) Evaluation of the 2006 family law reforms: Where to from here? Interactive panel discussion, Newcastle Gateway Project - Family Pathways Network Conference, Newcastle.
  • Gray, M. (2010, 13 August). Research perspectives on the 2006 Family Law Act amendments: Where to now? Queensland Law Society and Family Law Practitioners' Association of Queensland 25th Annual Calabro SV Consulting Family Law Residential, Ashmore, Qld.
  • Hand, K. (2010, 19 April). Evaluation of the family law reforms: An overview. Faculty of Life and Social Sciences, Swinburne University of Technology, Melbourne.
  • Hand, K. (2010, 21 October). Mandatory dispute resolution and the 2006 family law reforms: Use, outcomes, links to other pathways and the impact of family violence. Launch of the Central Queensland Family Law Pathways Network, Rockhampton.
  • Hayes, A. (2010, 14 July). Mediating the minefield: Family dispute resolution, its prospects and problems. Launch of research report by T. Brown, What About the Children? Parenting Post-Separation and Divorce, Monash University, Melbourne.
  • Hayes, A. (2010, 20-21 July). Perspectives on the family law system: What do we now know and what can we do to respond? 2nd Family Law System Conference, Canberra.
  • Kaspiew, R. (2010, 7 July). AIFS evaluation of the family law reforms: Overview of key findings. 11th Australian Institute of Family Studies Conference, Melbourne.
  • Kaspiew, R. (2010, 7 July). Family law: Family violence. Panel session, 11th Australian Institute of Family Studies Conference, Melbourne.
  • Kaspiew. R. (2010, 20 July). Family violence: Key findings from the evaluation of the 2006 family law reforms. Victoria Legal Aid Professional Development Seminar.
  • Kaspiew, R. (2010, 20-21 July). Child protection and family law: Context and insights from the AIFS evaluation of the 2006 family law reforms. 2nd Family Law System Conference, Canberra.
  • Kaspiew, R. (2010, 6 August). Access to justice: Reflections from the AIFS evaluation of the family law reforms. Australian Women Lawyers Third National Conference, Brisbane.
  • Kaspiew, R. (2010, 4 November). Evaluation of the 2006 family law reforms: Key findings. Hobart and Launceston Family Law Pathways Network Conference.
  • Kaspiew, R. (2011, May). Family law in Australia 2011: Recent policy developments and research insights. Cardiff University Law School, Cardiff.
  • Moloney, L. (2010, 8 July). Family dispute resolution after the 2006 family law reforms: Usage, nature of disputes, professional and client experiences, and short and medium term outcomes. 11th Australian Institute of Family Studies conference, Melbourne.
  • Moloney, L. (2010, 16 July). Mandatory dispute resolution and the 2006 family law reforms: Use, outcomes, links to other pathways, and the impact of family violence. NADRAC Research Forum, Brisbane.
  • Moloney, L. (2010, 20-21 July). Strategies for working with high conflict families. 2nd Family Law System Conference, Canberra.
  • Moloney, L. (2010, 23 November). Family violence: Screening and risk assessment in family support services. APS Family Law Interest Group, Melbourne.
  • Moloney, L. (2011, 9 May). Evaluation of the 2006 family law reforms: An overview. Swinburne University of Technology. Melbourne.
  • Qu, L., Weston, R., Moloney, L., & Deblaquiere, J. (2010, 9 July). Grandparent-grandchild relationships after parental separation: Findings from the AIFS family law evaluation. 11th Australian Institute of Family Studies conference, Melbourne.
  • Weston, R. (2010, 7 July). Child support liability, compliance and fairness: Reports of parents who separated after the 2006 family law reforms were introduced. 11th Australian Institute of Family Studies conference, Melbourne.
  • Weston, R. (2010, 20-21 July). Care arrangements and property matters. 2nd Family Law System Conference, Canberra.

Family Trends and Transitions

Project duration 1980- (ongoing)
Funding source(s) Appropriation
Research Plan 2009-12 theme(s) Economic wellbeing of families   X
Families and work   X
Social inclusion   X
Family transitions and family law   XX
Children, young people and their families   XX
Related projects(s) Caring for Disabled Children; Family Attitudes and Values

The Family Trends and Transitions project analyses and disseminates information on broad trends in patterns of leaving home, couple and family formation, family stability, and family dissolution and re-formation, along with associated values, attitudes and beliefs. As well as providing a better understanding of society's core values, the monitoring and analysis of these trends are important for policy development and for the timely development and design of research projects.

Family-related trends are disseminated through publications and presentations, the online Family Facts and Figures database, media interviews, and the handling of queries from internal and external sources. The updating of the widely used Family Facts and Figures database is an ongoing process. During the reporting period, the Family Facts and Figures section of the website was re-structured to provide better access to the data.

Planned outputs Actual outputs Outcomes
Publish articles, present papers at conferences and seminars, and participate in media interviews 4 articles published
3 presentations
Government, policy-makers and other stakeholders better informed of the nature of, and factors linked with, family trends
International body of knowledge enhanced through national and overseas conferences presentations
Public interest stimulated via media reports of research findings
Provide and maintain online Family Facts and Figures database 1 new series (Births) added

Publication(s)

  • Gray, M., de Vaus, D., Qu, L., & Stanton, D. (2011). Divorce and the wellbeing of older Australians. Ageing & Society, 31(3), 475-498.
  • Hayes, A., Qu, L., Weston R., & Baxter, J. (2011). Families in Australia 2011: Sticking together in good and tough times. Melbourne: Australian Institute of Family Studies.
  • Hayes, A., Weston R., & Qu, L. (2011). Relationship pressures on Australian families: Some implications for psychologists. InPsych, February, 8-11.
  • Hayes, A., Weston, R., Qu, L., & Gray, M. (2010). Families then and now: 1980-2010. Melbourne: Australian Institute of Family Studies.

Presentation(s)

  • De Vaus, D., Gray, M., Qu, L., & Stanton, D. (2010, 7 July). Relationship breakdown and social exclusion: A longitudinal analysis. 11th Australian Institute of Family Studies Conference, Melbourne.
  • Hayes, A., Weston, R., & Qu, L. (2010, 8 July). From form to function: Framing policy to address contemporary choices, changes and challenges. 11th Australian Institute of Family Studies Conference, Melbourne.
  • Hayes, A. (2011, 24 February). Australian families in the 21st century: Recent research insights into family form and functioning. CentaCare Sandhurst 25th Anniversary Conference, "Being and Celebrating Family today", Bendigo, Vic.
  • Hayes, A. (2011, 24 Februrary). In celebration of families today. CentaCare Sandhurst 25th Anniversary Conference, "Being and Celebrating Family today", Bendigo, Vic.
  • Qu, L., & Weston, R. (2011, 29 April). Demographics of ageing and fertility. Principles of Social Policy course, Australian National University, Canberra.
  • Weston, R., Qu, L., & Hayes, A. (2010, 30 November). Family trends: Implications for children. 159th OzChild Annual Meeting, Melbourne.

Family Violence Literature Review

Project duration May-July 2011
Funding source(s) DHS
Research Plan 2009-12 theme(s) Violence, abuse and neglect   X

The Institute is undertaking this literature review for the Australian Government Department of Human Services. Its purpose is to inform planning with respect to the development of a portfolio-wide strategy response to family violence.

The document has been designed to give a brief review of the literature relating to key facts and statistics on family violence, and highlight groups who have an increased risk of vulnerability and face additional difficulties in accessing assistance. It reflects research that has been conducted primarily over the last decade and has led to the development of a greater understanding of the importance of early identification of and early intervention with victims and/or perpetrators of family violence. There are two components: Part 1 summarises the research knowledge about family violence, including a discussion of a range of factors that contribute to family violence and the complex relationships between them; and Part 2 looks at responding to family violence, including assessing risk and meeting the needs of victims.

Planned outputs Actual outputs Outcomes
Literature review Literature review undertaken Informs planning for the development of a portfolio-wide strategy response to family violence

Giving Voice to Victim/Survivors' Knowledge of Sexual Offending

Project duration June 2008 - December 2010
Funding source(s) FaHCSIA
Research Plan 2009-12 theme(s) Social inclusion   X
Violence, abuse and neglect   XX
Related project(s) Australian Centre for the Study of Sexual Assault

Giving Voice to Victim/Survivors' Knowledge of Sexual Offending was a qualitative project that explored what victim/survivors could tell us about sexual offending. Between March and July 2009, 33 women who had sought the services of a sexual assault support service from across Australia were interviewed. Researchers spoke with victim/survivors about how their assaults occurred and what facilitated the offending.

The research identified a pattern of measured and purposeful tactics used in many kinds of sexual offending, such as the use of surprise and force, concealment and victim-blaming.

The final report was published as an AIFS Research Report in December 2010.

Planned outputs Actual outputs Outcomes
Final report Final report published Contribution to better understanding of sexual offending

Publication(s)

  • Clark, H., & Quadara, A. (2010). Insights into sexual assault perpetration: Giving voice to victim/survivors' knowledge (Research Report No. 18). Melbourne: Australian Institute of Family Studies.

Growing Up in Australia: The Longitudinal Study of Australian Children

Project duration March 2002 - June 2019
Funding source(s) FaHCSIA
Partner organisation(s) FaHCSIA; ABS; Consortium Advisory Group
Research Plan 2009-12 theme(s) Economic wellbeing of families   X
Families and work   X
Social inclusion   X
Family transitions and family law   X
Children, young people and their families   XX
Related project(s) Economic Value of Positive Family Functioning; Labour Market Issues for Families; Neighbourhoods, Economic Disadvantage and Child Wellbeing; Time Use in Families

Growing Up in Australia: The Longitudinal Study of Australian Children (LSAC) is a major study that is following the development of 10,000 children and families from urban and rural areas of all states and territories of Australia, addressing a range of questions about children's development and wellbeing. The study is conducted in a partnership between FaHCSIA, the Institute and the ABS, with advice provided by a consortium of leading researchers. Information is collected on children's physical health and social, cognitive and emotional development, as well as their experiences in significant environments, such as the family, child care, preschool and school, and their broader communities. A major aim of the study is to identify policy opportunities for improving support for children and families and for early intervention and prevention strategies.

Planning for the study commenced in 2002, and in 2004 two cohorts of approximately 5,000 infants aged 0-1 years, and 5,000 children aged 4-5 years, and their parents, were recruited and interviewed. Families have been interviewed every two years thereafter, with information being collected from resident and non-resident parents, teachers, child care providers, and the children themselves. In addition, three between-waves mail surveys were undertaken in 2005, 2007 and 2009.

A major advance for the study was reached when the Australian Government made this study an ongoing project. Funding has been allocated and planning is underway for the next four waves (Waves 5 to 8), taking the study to 2019. The eight LSAC waves will thus provide data on children's development from infancy through to the threshold of adulthood.

Data collection

During 2010-11, Wave 4 data collection was completed, with 8,405 interviews conducted. This represents approximately 83% of the original sample and 96% of the families who participated in Wave 3. Data from this wave are due to be released in August 2011.

The first phase of Wave 4.5 commenced in 2010-11. This between-waves contact with the study families is through an Internet form, rather than a mailed-out paper questionnaire as used in previous between-waves contact. The form focuses on updating and improving contact details for the families. There is also a small set of questions about parents' feelings about various aspects of the study. The second phase of Wave 4.5 will take place in September 2011.

Wave 5 development

Development of the Wave 5 data collection interviews and measures was a major activity for 2010-11, and is now complete. The first phase of data collection will begin in July 2011 and the second phase in March 2012. The methodology changes introduced in Wave 4 will be continued in Wave 5. The interview for the older group of children will include questions on new topics appropriate to their transition into adolescence, such as their transition to secondary school, and their health and wellbeing. As some of the children are now in secondary school, their English teacher will be invited to complete a questionnaire, while those who are still in primary school will have the questionnaire completed by their main classroom teacher. The interview for the younger group of children and their families will be similar to that in previous waves. In addition, the younger group of children will be asked to wear an accelerometer, which measures the amount and intensity of their physical movements.

Life at 5 documentary

The third round of the Life At series - Life At 5 - was screened on ABC TV in February 2011. The Institute has contributed to this series, produced by Screen Australia in conjunction with Heiress Films, which draws upon the methodology and findings of LSAC. Eleven children and their families are being followed over time, with coverage of the children's behaviour and milestones, and the impact of factors such as parents' relationships, finances, work and health. Institute researchers have undertaken interviews with participating parents and assessments of the children, as well as statistical analyses of the LSAC dataset for use in the series.

Dissemination and promotion of LSAC

The LSAC data have been extensively used for many research projects. There are 348 data users, and 903 subscribers to the LSAC emailing list, which provides study updates and information about new publications. The dissemination and promotion of LSAC has continued, with several other papers and reports being published, and papers being presented at national and international forums.

The first LSAC Annual Statistical Report has been completed and is scheduled for release in mid-2011. A draft of the second LSAC Annual Statistical Report was also completed and the report is scheduled for release in 2011-12. The first LSAC research report, Fathering in Australia Among Couple Families With Young Children, was released by FaHCSIA as an Occasional Paper in early 2011. The drafts of three other research reports - on new father figures and fathers living elsewhere, families living in rural and regional areas, and parental social marital status and children's wellbeing - have been completed and are due for release in 2011-12. Two Technical Reports on the National Assessment Plan - Literacy and Numeracy (NAPLAN) and My School data linked to the LSAC data file are in progress and are scheduled to be released during 2011-12.

A Facts Sheet based on LSAC data titled Families in Regional, Rural and Remote Australia was also published in March 2011.

During 2010-11, planning began for the 3rd LSAC Research Conference, which for the first time will be held in conjunction with Footprints in Time: The Longitudinal Study of Indigenous Children (LSIC). The joint conference will be held in November 2011 in Melbourne.

Planned outputs Actual outputs Outcomes
Completion of Wave 4 main wave data collection Data collection completed, with very good response rates Policy-makers provided with high-quality evidence about the development, wellbeing and progress of Australian children and families
Development of Wave 5 Development of interviews and measures for the Wave 5 data collection completed Content development completed so that fieldwork can commence on time
Provision and maintenance of LSAC website Online newsletters regularly posted on the LSAC website
Events, Study Members and Publications pages updated
Numbers of people accessing LSAC information increased
Conference presentations, papers, reports and media attention Study updates included in Family Matters
3 journal articles published
1 Facts Sheet published
1st Annual Statistical Report completed
2nd Annual Statistical Report draft completed
1st research report released by FaHCSIA
Drafts of three research reports completed
LSAC Technical Reports being prepared
9 conference presentations
Print, radio and television media interviews undertaken
Contribution to the Life at 5 series
Public profile of the study enhanced
Interest in the findings raised among policy-makers and media
Numbers of registered users increased
Delivery of training workshops and user group services Regular web updates provided on status of data files
Telephone and email support provided
Understanding of dataset among potential and novice users increased
Facilitated use of LSAC data
Maintenance of sample engagement Birthday cards sent to children
Calendar and parent and child newsletters sent to all families
Sample engagement maintained
Sample tracking facilitated

Publication(s)

  • Baxter, J., Gray, M., & Hayes, A. (2011). Families in regional, rural and remote Australia. Melbourne: Australian Institute of Family Studies.
  • Baxter, J., & Smart, D. (2011). Fathering in Australia among couple families with young children (Occasional Paper No. 37). Canberra: Department of Families, Housing, Community Services and Indigenous Affairs.
  • Edwards, B., Taylor, M., & Fiorini, M. (2011). Who gets the "gift of time" in Australia? Exploring delayed primary school entry. Australian Review of Public Affairs, 10(1), 41-60.
  • Hayes, A. (2010). Design issues. In G. MacNaughton, S. A. Rolfe, I. Siraj-Blatchford (Eds.), Doing early childhood research: International perspectives on theory and practice (2nd ed.; pp. 103-125). Sydney: Allen and Unwin.
  • Sanson, A., Hawkins, M. T., Misson, S., & The LSAC Consortium. (2010). The development and validation of Australian indices of child development: Part I. Conceptualisation and development. Child Indicators Research, 3, 275-292.
  • Sanson, A., Hawkins, M. T., Misson, S., & The LSAC Consortium. (2010). The development and validation of Australian indices of child development: Part II. Validity support. Child Indicators Research, 3, 293-312.
Other publication(s)
  • Growing Up in Australia Newsletter (online) No. 27, Autumn 2010
  • Growing Up in Australia Newsletter (online) No. 28, Spring 2010
  • Growing Up in Australia Newsletter (online) No. 29, Summer 2011
  • Growing Up in Australia Newsletter (online) No. 30, Autumn 2011
  • 2011 LSAC calendar
  • Growing Up in Australia Newsletter (for study families), December 2010
  • Hello From Growing Up in Australia (for study children 6-7 years), December 2010
  • Hello From Growing Up in Australia (for study children 10-11 years), December 2010

Presentation(s)

  • Baxter, J., & Gray, M. (2010, 8 July). How do dual-employed couple parents manage without childcare? Can it be explained by fathers' involvement in childcare? 11th Australian Institute of Family Studies Conference, Melbourne.
  • Edwards, B., & Maguire, B. (2010, 7 July). Some findings from the Longitudinal Study of Australian Children: The LSAC Annual Statistical Report. 11th Australian Institute of Family Studies Conference, Melbourne.
  • Hayes, A. (2010, 25 November). The changing face of Australian families: Insights from recent longitudinal research and evaluation findings on vulnerability, resilience and family relationship outcomes. CatholicCare Sydney Family Services Directorate Day, Sydney.
  • Hayes, A. (2010, 2 December). Modern families but enduring myths?: Implications for research, policy and practice. 6th Australian Family & Community Strengths Conference, University of Newcastle, NSW.
  • Redmond, G., Gubhaju, B., Smart, D., & Katz, I. (2010, 8 July). Parents' education and children's outcomes: Is the gradient getting steeper? 11th Australian Institute of Family Studies conference, Melbourne.
  • Sanson, A., Smart, D., & Misson, S. (2010, 29 November). Commonalities and differences in predictors of children's physical, cognitive and socio-emotional outcomes: Implications for intervention. 2nd Growing Up in Ireland Research Conference, Dublin, Ireland.
  • Soloff, C., & Corey, J. (2010, 1 July). Growing Up in Australia: The Longitudinal Study of Australian Children: Sample tracking. EUCCONET International Workshop, "Tracking Sample Members in Longitudinal Studies", University of London, London.
  • Soloff, C. (2010, July). Growing Up in Australia: The Longitudinal Study of Australian Children. Six Years On! UK Centre for Longitudinal Studies, London.
  • Soloff, C. (2010, July). Growing Up in Australia: The Longitudinal Study of Australian Children. Six Years On! Growing Up in Ireland, Dublin.
  • Taylor, M., Edwards, B., & Gray, M. (2010, 7 July). Area level unemployment and children's development in New South Wales. 11th Australian Institute of Family Studies conference, Melbourne.

Indigenous Justice Programs Evaluation: Diversion Programs

Project duration January 2010 - December 2012
Funding source(s) AGD
Partner organisation(s) AIC
Research Plan 2009-12 theme(s) Social inclusion   X
Violence, abuse and neglect   X
Children, young people and their families   X
Related project(s) Closing the Gap Clearinghouse

In partnership with the Australian Institute of Criminology, AIFS will evaluate four Indigenous youth criminal justice prevention, early intervention and diversion programs from different parts of Australia. The four programs are:

  • Aggression Replacement Training (Qld) - a 10-week program designed to teach young people social skills, anger management techniques and moral reasoning to reduce their risk of committing violent offences;
  • Woorabinda Early Intervention Coordination Panel Service (Qld) - a program that works directly with young people who are at risk of becoming entrenched in a pattern of offending, and their families, to support and empower them to deal with issues as they arise;
  • Aboriginal Power Cup (SA) - a program that focuses on engaging young people in education, promotes healthy lifestyle choices and develops teamwork, leadership and life skills through a school-based curriculum that revolves around sport; and
  • Tiwi Islands Youth Diversion and Development Unit (NT) - offering a wide range of programs linked to identified community concerns and initiatives, including youth diversion and development programs, community mediation and counselling services.

The aim of the evaluation is to explore the effectiveness of the programs in diverting Indigenous youth from entering or re-entering the Australian criminal justice system. Specifically, the evaluation will consider the ways in which individual programs are operating and the degree to which they are successful in meeting their stated aims. It will also identify critical "success" factors (common to all programs) for effectively preventing/diverting Indigenous youth away from the criminal justice system.

The evaluation will be conducted over two years. Three key phases of research will be undertaken within this timeframe. These phases are: (a) project development and design; (b) data collection; and (c) analysis and reporting.

Planned outputs Actual outputs Outcomes
Program logic for each program
Phase 1 progress report
Ethics application
Program logic developed
Phase 1 progress report completed
Ethics clearance obtained
Evaluation criteria confirmed, based on program logic and ethics approval
Research methodology refined (i.e., practices, procedures and principles that will inform or guide the research are documented)

Labour Market Issues for Families

Project duration Ongoing
Funding source(s) Appropriation
Research Plan 2009-12 theme(s) Economic wellbeing of families   XX
Families and work   XX
Social inclusion   X
Children, young people and their families   X
Related project(s) Growing Up in Australia: The Longitudinal Study of Australian Children; Negotiating the Life Course; Neighbourhoods, Economic Disadvantage and Child Wellbeing; Pathways of Care: The Longitudinal Study of Children and Young People in Out-of-Home Care; Street Stories: The Life around Here Community Study and Documentary; Time Use in Families; Trends in Workforce Decisions for Women With Children

This is an ongoing project that encompasses research on a range of work-family related topics. Recent projects include analyses of employment transitions of lone and couple mothers, undertaken to explore whether barriers to job entry or job retention are greater for lone rather than couple mothers. This was published as an AIFS Research Paper and presented at two conferences in 2010-11, and is to be published in the Australian Journal of Labour Economics. Related work on maternal employment was undertaken for FaHCSIA (see the Trends in Workforce Decisions of Women With Children research project). Also with regard to maternal employment, the output from a 2009-10 research project on child support and mothers' labour supply was published as an AIFS Research Paper.

Another focus is that of family joblessness and child wellbeing. This work was presented in 2010-11 and will be published in 2011-12. (See also the Street Stories project and Neighbourhoods, Economic Disadvantage and Child Wellbeing project for related work.)

Projects with an international focus include a review of work-family policies implemented overseas. This review will be published as an AIFS Research Paper. Contributions to the international work-family area have also been made through involvement in the International Network on Leave Policies and Research, through publication and presentation of Australian parental leave information. Through analyses of LSAC, we have also participated in a multi-country study of early maternal employment and child outcomes that is to be published as an OECD working paper.

Research on the intersection of work and family was undertaken as part of the LSAC research project on fathering in Australia, which was released in March 2011. This line of research is continuing to explore how particular employment arrangements are associated with differences in fathering. Other continuing research includes an examination of issues of labour market participation of parents with young children and the arrangements that are made for caring for children.

Planned outputs Actual outputs Outcomes
Publications and conference papers 9 conference papers
2 AIFS Research Papers
1 book chapter
Contribution to policy development in relation to supportive workplace and family environments

Publication(s)

  • Alexander, M., Whitehouse, G., & Brennan, D. (2010). Australia: Country note. In P. Moss (Ed.), International review of leave policies and related research 2010 (Employment Relations Research Series No. 115). London: UK Department for Business, Innovation & Skills.
  • Baxter, J., & Renda, J. (2011). Lone and couple mothers in the Australian labour market: Exploring differences in employment transitions (Research Paper No. 48). Melbourne: Australian Institute of Family Studies.
  • Taylor, M., & Gray, M. (2010). The impact of child support payments on the labour supply decisions of resident mothers. (Research Paper No. 47). Melbourne: Australian Institute of Family Studies.

Presentation(s)

  • Alexander M. (2010, 29 September). An antipodean view of work & family: Recent research and policy developments. Fathers, Parental Leave and Family-Friendly Work Arrangements: Policy Developments and Research in Australia and Europe Seminar, London.
  • Alexander M. (2010, 8 October). Recent Australian parental leave policy developments. International Network on Leave Policies and Research, Bologna.
  • Alexander M. (2010, 14 October). An antipodean view of work & family: Recent research developments. Seminar, University of Barcelona, Barcelona.
  • Baxter, J., (2010, 2 December). Mothers and fathers as co-parents: Does paid work get in the way? 15th Biennial Australian Population Association Conference, Surfers Paradise, Qld.
  • Baxter, J., & Gray, M., (2010, 8 July). How do dual-employed couple parents manage without childcare? Can it be explained by fathers' involvement in childcare? 11th Australian Institute of Family Studies Conference, Melbourne.
  • Baxter, J., & Renda, J., (2010, 8 July). Lone and couple mothers in the Australian labour market: Exploring differences in employment transitions. 11th Australian Institute of Family Studies Conference, Melbourne.
  • Baxter, J., & Smart, D. (2011, 2 March). Fathering in Australia. FaHCSIA Social Policy Research Workshop, Canberra ACT.
  • Gray, M., & Baxter, J. (2011, 1 February). Family joblessness, child wellbeing and labour market and income support policies. Advancing Child and Family Policy Through Research Conference, Canberra ACT.
  • Renda, J., & Baxter, J. (2010, 1-4 December). Lone and couple mothers in the Australian labour market: Using HILDA calendar data to examine monthly employment transitions. ACSPRI Social Science Methodology Conference, Sydney.

National Homelessness Research Project: The Influences of Unstable Housing on Children's Wellbeing and Development

Project duration August 2010 - June 2011
Funding source(s) FaHCSIA
Research Plan 2009-12 theme(s) Economic wellbeing of families   X
Social inclusion   XX
Related project(s) Neighbourhoods, Economic Disadvantage and Child Wellbeing

Unstable housing is one of the key risk factors for homelessness. Little is known in Australia about the impact of unstable housing (such as high rates of residential mobility, unstable housing tenure and housing stress) on children's cognitive development and learning, health and social-emotional functioning. Moreover, there has been limited international research that is longitudinal and nationally representative.

This research project will provide estimates of the impact of unstable housing on children's development using LSAC data. In addition, it will highlight the role that parental relationship breakdown has on unstable housing and the consequences for the development of children in these households.

This project commenced in August 2010. To date, significant progress has been made in the construction of a research dataset. A research note on definitions of homelessness and the enumeration of homeless families using survey data was presented to FaHCSIA. Statistical modelling of the effect of unstable housing on child outcomes was completed, and a final draft report was submitted in June 2011.

Planned outputs Actual outputs Outcomes
Final report Final draft report submitted Contribution to the development of the housing questionnaire for the 5th wave of LSAC
Understanding of impact of unstable housing on children's development is improved, which will assist in developing better policies to mitigate these risks

National Survey of Children and Young People in Out-of-Home Care: Scoping Study

Project duration June-September 2011
Funding source(s) FaHCSIA
Research Plan 2009-12 theme(s) Social inclusion   X
Family transitions and family law   X
Children, young people and their families   X
Related project(s) Pathways of Care: The Longitudinal Study of Children and Young People in Out-of-Home Care

The National Standards for Out-of-Home Care were agreed by state and territory Community and Disability Services Ministers in December 2010, and in April 2011 a set of measures for these standards was also agreed upon. Key to monitoring progress against the National Standards is capturing the views of children and young people in out-of-home care about the differences the National Standards are making in their lives.

AIFS has been commissioned by FaHCSIA to undertake a scoping study for a national survey of children and young people in out-of-home care. The survey is intended to provide quantitative and qualitative data that supplement and enrich administrative data by adding information about children's and young people's subjective experiences of the out-of-home care system.

The scoping study will review existing surveys and data collection methods, and examine options for the survey methodology - covering mode of collection methodology, sampling strategy, sample size, provider load, and interface with existing surveys.

The project commenced on 20 June, and initial work focused on making contact with key stakeholders and commencing a round of consultations.

Planned outputs Actual outputs Outcomes
Project workplan Project workplan completed Project team and tasks established

Negotiating the Life Course

Project duration 2006-11
Funding source(s) Appropriation
Partner organisation(s) Australian Demographic and Social Research Institute; School of Social Science, University of Queensland
Research Plan 2009-12 theme(s) Economic wellbeing of families   X
Families and work   XX
Social inclusion   X
Family transitions and family law   XX
Related project(s) Labour Market Issues for Families

Negotiating the Life Course is a longitudinal survey undertaken by the Australian Demographic and Social Research Institute and the School of Social Science, University of Queensland. AIFS also contributes through the involvement of a senior research staff member as Partner Investigator to the project.

The study tracks the changing life courses and decision-making processes of Australian men and women as families and society move from male breadwinner orientation towards higher levels of gender equity.

AIFS is using the Negotiating the Life Course data to examine women's labour market participation by life-cycle stage across different birth cohorts.

Planned outputs Actual outputs Outcomes
Book chapter Book chapter submitted Understanding of changing life courses and decision-making processes of Australian men and women improved, by contributing analyses of women's labour market participation

Neighbourhoods, Economic Disadvantage and Child Wellbeing

Project duration 2006-11
Funding source(s) Appropriation; Benevolent Society
Research Plan 2009-12 theme(s) Economic wellbeing of families   XX
Social inclusion   XX
Children, young people and their families   X
Related project(s) Growing Up in Australia: The Longitudinal Study of Australian Children; Labour Market Issues for Families; National Homelessness Research Project: The Influences of Unstable Housing on Children's Wellbeing and Development

The Neighbourhood Economic Disadvantage and Child Wellbeing project aims to: provide evidence about the impact of neighbourhoods on children and their parents; explore the impact of neighbourhood disadvantage on children; and gain insight into risk and protective factors. Data from LSAC are used in this analysis.

Further research will explore how parental factors such as mental health and parenting behaviour mediate the effects of neighbourhood on children's social and emotional outcomes. In addition, the Benevolent Society contracted the Institute to undertake research on the impact of area-level unemployment on children's development in New South Wales. This project also used LSAC data.

A final report, Unemployment and the Wellbeing of Children Aged 5-10 Years, has been published.

Planned outputs Actual outputs Outcomes
Research report to Benevolent Society Final report submitted to the Benevolent Society Inform social inclusion and early childhood policies

Publication(s)

  • Taylor, M., Edwards, B., & Gray, M. (2010). Unemployment and the wellbeing of children aged 5-10 years: Report to the Benevolent Society (PDF 1.2 MB) (Background Paper). Paddington, NSW: Benevolent Society. Retrieved from <www.bensoc.org.au/uploads/documents/AIFS-report-unemployment-and-the-wellbeing-of-children-aged-5-to-10-yrs.pdf>.

New Income Management Evaluation Framework and Baseline Data Collection Project

Project duration April 2010 - September 2011
Funding source(s) FaHCSIA
Partner organisation(s) SPRC; ANU
Research Plan 2009-12 theme(s) Economic wellbeing of families   XX
Families and work   XX
Social inclusion   XX
Violence, abuse and neglect   X
Children, young people and their families   X

This project is the first phase of a broader evaluation of a new model of the Income Management Scheme in the Northern Territory.

The New Income Management Evaluation Framework and Baseline Data Collection Project is being undertaken with the Social Policy Research Centre at the University of New South Wales and the Australian National University. SPRC is the lead agency in the consortium. The project has been commissioned by FaHCSIA.

The project has three key parts:

  • development of the evaluation framework;
  • collection of early implementation data; and
  • analyses of baseline administrative data.

The framework was developed after consultation with community and government stakeholders. To assist with input for the framework, FaHCSIA convened a reference group of key stakeholders, including a range of community and government stakeholders. Following these consultations, the framework was developed by the consortium using a review of the international literature and the joint expertise of the research consortium. The framework was released in February 2011.

AIFS is developing survey instruments and interview schedules for the collection of primary baseline data and will also be responsible for conducting the fieldwork for the qualitative interviews, and contributing to the analysis and write-up of both the survey and interview data.

Planned outputs Actual outputs Outcomes
Evaluation framework Evaluation framework submitted to FaHCSIA (released February 2011) Evidence base to assist with assessing the impact of new Income Management Scheme in the Northern Territory

A New Legal Frontier? The Role of Social Networking Services and Mobile Phone Technology in Facilitating Sexual Violence

Project duration December 2010 - December 2011
Funding source(s) Legal Services Board
Partner organisation(s) Centre Against Sexual Assault (CASA) House
Research Plan 2009-12 theme(s) Violence, abuse and neglect   XX
Related project(s) Australian Centre for the Study of Sexual Assault

This partnership project explores the use of social networking services (e.g., Facebook, MySpace, chat rooms) and mobile phone technology (e.g., SMS messaging, filming, "sexting") in the facilitation of sexual violence.

The overall goal of this project is to assist in the reduction of sexual violence experienced by young people in Australia and to support the legal system's ability to legislate, investigate and prosecute sexual violence that occurs through or is aided by social networking services. It focuses on the experiences of young people (16-20 years) to examine how such technologies are used to facilitate sexual violence and identify the challenges for prevention in this still-emerging social environment.

The proposed methodology is predominantly qualitative and will involve interviews with people who have experienced technology-facilitated sexual assault, and with key informants in sexual assault services, police, prosecution, defence and the judiciary. Emerging findings and their implications for prevention will be communicated to key stakeholders, including young people, through several forums and workshops.

As at 30 June, a reference group meeting and roundtable have been held. The project methodology has been developed, with approval granted by the AIFS Human Research Ethics Committee, and is awaiting approval from the Victoria Police ethics committee.

Planned outputs Actual outputs Outcomes
Two research roundtables 1 roundtable held Knowledge exchanged among policy-makers, service providers and researchers about the most effective strategies to reduce the incidence of sexual assault and to improve responses

Northern Territory Emergency Response: Outcome Evaluation of "Supporting Families"

Project duration June-December 2011
Funding source(s) FaHCSIA
Research Plan 2009-12 theme(s) Social inclusion   X
Violence, abuse and neglect   X
Children, young people and their families   X

The aim of this project is to assess outcomes relating to the improvement of the safety, health and wellbeing of children by examining the Supporting Families measures under the Northern Territory Emergency Response (NTER) and the Closing the Gap in the Northern Territory National Partnership Agreement. AIFS will undertake a desktop analysis of existing NTER evaluation documents, survey materials, administrative data and other materials to provide a succinct analysis of actions that have contributed to changes in Supporting Families (including child protection) outcomes in the NTER communities. The result will be a chapter for incorporation in the independent NTER evaluation synthesis report.

In the 2010-11 financial year, AIFS commenced the project and began work on a project plan that will inform tasks to be undertaken in 2011-12.

Planned outputs Actual outputs Outcomes
Project establishment Project staffing undertaken
Literature review begun
Project plan drafted
Project team and tasks established

Parents and Children Articles: Raising Children Network

Project duration February-March 2011
Funding source(s) Raising Children Network (RCN)
Research Plan 2009-12 theme(s) Children, young people and their families   X
Related project(s) Australian Family Relationships Clearinghouse

The Raising Children Network is an Australian parenting website that provides information to parents to help with the day-to-day decisions of raising children, and to look after parents' own needs. RCN collaborates with Australian and international experts to ensure that the information presented on the website is valid and reliable.

The Institute was asked to write three new articles for the RCN website that focus on teenagers: "Dads and Teenagers"; "Mums and Teenagers"; and "Looking After Yourself". Researchers at the Institute conducted literature searches on the topics, drafted articles and responded to feedback.

Planned outputs Actual outputs Outcomes
Three articles for the RCN website Three articles drafted and final copy provided to RCN Articles are available for publication, at the discretion of RCN

Past Adoption Experiences: National Research Study on Service Responses

Project duration November 2010 - June 2012
Funding source(s) FaHCSIA
Research Plan 2009-12 theme(s) Social inclusion   X
Family transitions and family law   X
Children, young people and their families   X

This new research project builds on an earlier project, completed in April 2010, which involved a review of existing research literature about past adoption practices in Australia. The report was commissioned by FaHCSIA to understand the quality of research available about past adoption practices (relating to the period of "closed adoption"), and to assess the adequacy of research as an evidence base for policy and service development.

On 4 June 2010, the Community and Disability Services Ministers' Conference announced that ministers had agreed to a joint national research study into past adoption experiences, to be conducted by AIFS. The aims of the project are to:

  • examine experiences of past adoption, as they relate to the current support and service needs of affected individuals;
  • consider the extent to which affected individuals have sought support and services and the types of support and services that have been sought; and
  • present information from the study that could be used in the development of best practice models or practice guidelines for the delivery of supports and services for individuals affected by their adoption experiences.

Planning and the development of the research design began in early 2011, with the establishment of the Technical and Stakeholder Advisory Groups. Data collection is anticipated to start in August 2011, with the final report to be submitted in June 2012.

Planned outputs Actual outputs Outcomes
1 progress report
1 final report
1 progress report
1 article
1 conference presentation
Strong stakeholder and consumer interest in the study
Evidence produced that can assist with improving service responses to those affected by their past adoption experiences

Publication(s)

  • Higgins, D. (2011). Unfit mothers … Unjust practices: Key issues from Australian research on the impact of past adoption practices. Family Matters, 87, 56-68.

Presentation(s)

  • Higgins, D. (2010). Key issues from Australian research on the impact of past adoption practices. 11th Australian Institute of Family Studies Conference, Melbourne.

Pathways of Care: The Longitudinal Study of Children and Young People in Out-of-Home Care

Project duration July 2010 - June 2015
Funding source(s) NSW Department of Family and Community Services
Partner organisation(s) Social Policy Research Centre, University of New South Wales; Associate Professor Judith Cashmore (University of Sydney); Associate Professor Paul Delfabbro (University of Adelaide)
Research Plan 2009-12 theme(s) Violence, abuse and neglect   X
Children, young people and their families   X
Related project(s) Growing Up in Australia: The Longitudinal Study of Australian Children; National Survey of Children and Young People in Out-of-Home Care: Scoping Study

Pathways of Care: The Longitudinal Study of Children and Young People in Out-of-Home Care, is being conducted by NSW Community Services, with advice provided by the Institute, among others. All children aged 0-17 years entering out-of-home care in New South Wales for the first time by way of final Children's Court orders over a 12-month recruitment period will be eligible for inclusion in the study. The study commenced progressive data collection in May 2011, and it is anticipated that four annual waves of data will be collected. Data will be collected from carers, caseworkers, the children themselves and possibly also teachers, and will also be sourced from the administrative systems of NSW Community Services and other agencies.

Stage 1 of the study was completed in December 2010. During Stage 1, the Institute was contracted to provide advice on the study design, data collection processes and the selection of measures for the first wave of data collection. In addition, the Institute prepared a project plan for Stage 2 of the study, which involves analysis of the study data and the production of annual reports for each of the four waves of the study. AIFS also prepared a draft policy and procedures manual covering all aspects of the data analysis that will be undertaken.

Stage 2 commenced in January 2011, with the main deliverables being the development of relevant study instruments for future waves, the production of a report on data quality, based on the first 100 cases, and annual analytic reports for the first three waves. The Institute's first deliverable for Stage 2 was draft instruments for carers of children aged 3 years and over, and for the children and young people themselves (children aged 8-17 years).

Planned outputs Actual outputs Outcomes
Advice on study design, data collection and selection of measures Contributions at design and project management meetings
Written comments on measures and study redesign
Information sheet prepared on study purpose and key research questions
Advice considered and accepted by department
Stage 2 project plan Plan produced, with costings Stage 2 contracts signed with department and partner organisations
Draft Stage 2 data analysis policies and procedures manual Draft manual produced Manual accepted by Department
Stage 2 questionnaires for second stage of Wave 1 (Wave 1b) Draft questionnaires prepared Proposed questionnaires implemented by department

Protecting Australia's Children Research Audit (1995-2010)

Project duration August 2010 - February 2011
Funding source FaHCSIA; Community and Disability Services Ministers' Advisory Council
Research Plan 2009-12 theme(s) Children, young people and their families   XX
Related project(s) National Child Protection Clearinghouse

The Protecting Australia's Children Research Audit project identified and described Australian research projects (including program evaluations) undertaken during the 1995-2010 period on topics relating to the protection of children. The scope of the audit aligned with the six supporting outcomes of the National Framework for Protecting Australia's Children 2009-20, ranging from universal preventative initiatives through to statutory child protection and out-of-home care.

A literature review was undertaken to identify relevant research. Researchers were also provided with an opportunity to provide details of projects (including projects not yet completed) for inclusion in the audit. A total of 1,359 projects that met the audit criteria were identified. A report outlining the findings of the audit has been produced.

In addition to the audit report, an online database (the Protecting Australia's Children Research and Evaluation Register) was developed. This online resource will be freely available via the National Child Protection Clearinghouse and is targeted towards researchers, policy-makers and practitioners working in fields relating to the protection of children. It is expected that this database will provide these key stakeholders with the opportunity to (a) build upon the strengths of existing research; and (b) fill critical knowledge gaps. The database will have the capacity to incorporate new research projects, thereby making it a dynamic resource that remains relevant in the long term.

Planned outputs Actual outputs Outcomes
Preparation of report Report completed (to be released mid-2011) Findings will inform future research priorities relating to the protection of Australia's children
Online register Online register developed Key stakeholders are aware of research undertaken and currently underway
Knowledge gaps filled to inform policy, practice and future research

Publication(s)

  • McDonald, M., Higgins, D., valentine, k., & Lamont, A. (2011). Protecting Australia's Children research audit (1995-2010). Melbourne: Australian Institute of Family Studies.

Research and Evaluation Collaboration: Berry Street

Project duration July 2010 - April 2011
Funding source(s) Berry Street
Partner organisation(s) Berry Street
Research Plan 2009-12 theme(s) Children, young people and their families   X
Related project(s) Australian Family Relationship Clearinghouse; Research and Evaluation Collaboration: Interrelate Family Centres

This project provided support to Berry Street (the largest independent child and family welfare organisation in Victoria) regarding research and evaluation that is relevant to their family support programs and services. An AIFS senior research officer with expertise in evaluation was seconded to Berry Street as an internal consultant. AIFS undertook a range of tasks forming a 10-month work plan, including activities such as:

  • assisting with the development of an agency-wide monitoring and evaluation framework, and leading its implementation;
  • evaluating services and supporting staff to evaluate their own services; and
  • assisting with the development and implementation of an agency-wide client participation framework.

The project drew upon a range of evaluation resources that were developed by the Australian Family Relationships Clearinghouse. It has been a valuable partnership in linking the translation of research to practice, and vice versa.

Planned outputs Actual outputs Outcomes
Program logic model for the home-based care program Model completed and used as basis for client feedback instruments High levels of engagement and involvement of home-based care practitioners in the process
Development of positive attitudes towards evaluation within the program, contributing to the beginnings of a culture of evaluation within the organisation
AFRC newsletter article Article prepared for release in mid-2011 Dissemination of information about service evaluation
Presentations 2 conference papers
1 seminar presentation

Presentation(s)

  • Parker, R. (2011, April). Collaborating on evaluation in a service environment. Berry Street, Richmond, Vic.
  • Parker, R., McDonald, M., & Higgins. J. (2010, 3 August). Challenges in evaluating child and family welfare services. Association of Children's Welfare Agencies Conference, Sydney.
  • Parker, R. (2010, 30 November). Walking the talk: Evaluation in a service environment. 6th National Family and Community Strengths Conference, Newcastle, NSW.

Research and Evaluation Collaboration: Interrelate Family Centres

Project duration July 2010 - June 2014
Funding sources Interrelate Family Centres
Partner organisation(s) Interrelate Family Centres
Research Plan 2009-12 theme(s) Economic wellbeing of families   X
Families and work   X
Social inclusion   X
Violence, abuse and neglect   X
Family transitions and family law   X
Children, young people and their families   X
Related project(s) Australian Family Relationships Clearinghouse; Research and Evaluation Collaboration: Berry Street

This project provides support to Interrelate Family Centres regarding research and evaluation that is relevant to their family support programs and services. In 2009-10, an AIFS senior research officer with expertise in evaluation was seconded to Interrelate Family Centres as an internal consultant for one day per week. AIFS undertook a range of tasks, forming a 12-month work plan, including activities such as:

  • reviewing existing program aims and objectives to inform evaluation plans;
  • providing advice and strategies to establish a research and evaluation culture;
  • collaborating with Interrelate staff on the preparation of evaluation instruments and protocols; and
  • training and working with staff to undertake tasks related to program evaluation.

The project draws upon a range of evaluation resources that have been developed by the Australian Family Relationships Clearinghouse, and is a valuable partnership in linking the translation of research to practice, and vice versa. This consultancy has been re-funded to continue through to June 2014.

Planned outputs Actual outputs Outcomes
Being a Dad evaluation plan and instruments Client evaluation instrument Commencement of collection of client feedback regarding the impact of the program on them and their families
Survey of parents with non-agreements in family dispute resolution Telephone interview schedule established Interviews conducted with former FDR clients

Presentation(s)

  • Parker, R. (2010, September). Understanding partial agreements. Family Dispute Resolution Practitioners workshop, Interrelate Staff Conference, Newcastle, NSW.

Rural and Regional Families: The Impact of Drought and Economic and Social Change

Project duration 2007- (ongoing)
Funding source(s) Appropriation
Partner researcher(s) Associate Professor Boyd Hunter, ANU; Professor David de Vaus, La Trobe University
Research Plan 2009-12 theme(s) Economic wellbeing of families   XX
Families and work   X
Social inclusion   X
Related project(s) Rural and Remote Carers in Australia

In August 2007, the Institute commenced a major study into the impact of drought and economic and social change on the wellbeing of families and communities in regional and rural Australia, an issue on which there has been very little large-scale work. Understanding the impact of drought on families and communities is likely to become increasingly important if climate change predictions are correct - that much of Australia will experience more frequent and severe droughts in the future.

The goal of the project is to provide the Australian Government and general community with current information and expert analysis about the economic and social impacts of drought on families in regional and rural Australia. It addresses the effect of drought on families' financial situations, standards of living, relationships, wellbeing, migration patterns, service availability, social capital and community cohesion.

The study involved interviews with about 8,000 people living in rural and regional areas, including more than 1,300 farmers, 1,000 others employed in agricultural industries, 3,000 employed in non-agricultural industries, and more than 2,500 people who were not employed. It explored the extent to which drought affects communities beyond farmers and those directly employed in agriculture or related industries.

The research resulting from this project was used extensively by the Productivity Commission in its report on Drought Support Policy. It was also used in the report of the Expert Panel on the Social Impacts of Drought. Analyses of data from the survey are continuing.

Planned outputs Actual outputs Outcomes
Articles drafted and submitted for publication in academic journals   Findings inform drought policy and policies involving Australian families living in rural and regional areas
Papers presented at conferences 1 presentation

Presentations

  • Edwards, B., Gray, M., Baxter, J., & Hunter, B. (2010, 8 July). The tyranny of distance? Carers in regional and remote Australia. 11th Australian Institute of Family Studies Conference, Melbourne.

Rural and Remote Carers in Australia

Project duration Contracted project complete; dissemination continuing
Funding source(s) Carers Australia
Research Plan 2009-12 theme(s) Economic wellbeing of families   X
Families and work   XX
Social inclusion   X
Family transitions and family law   X
Related project(s) Rural and Regional Families: The Impact of Drought and Economic and Social Change

The Institute was contracted by Carers Australia to undertake research on carers living in rural and remote areas of Australia. The research helped to address the gap in our understanding about this group and provided evidence for decisions about policies and practice to better meet the needs of carers in rural Australia. The report focused on the geography of caring, the impact of living in rural and remote areas, and the impact of drought on carers - whether drought widens social inequalities and particularly affects carers, who may have fewer financial resources than other groups. The final report was launched during Carers Week in September 2009, and the Institute continues to disseminate the study findings.

Planned outputs Actual outputs Outcomes
Continued dissemination of findings 1 conference presentation Research findings disseminated on families caring for a person with a disability in rural and remote areas

Presentation(s)

  • Edwards, B., Gray, M., Baxter, J., & Hunter, B. (2010, 8 July). The tyranny of distance? Carers in regional and remote Australia. 11th Australian Institute of Family Studies Conference, Melbourne.

Street Stories: The Life around Here Community Study and Documentary

Project duration November 2009 - June 2011
Funding source(s) DEEWR
Research Plan 2009-12 theme(s) Economic wellbeing of families   XX
Families and work   XX
Social inclusion   XX
Violence, abuse and neglect   X
Children, young people and their families   X
Related project(s) Labour Market Issues for Families

The Department of Education, Employment and Workplace Relations commissioned the Institute to undertake the Street Stories project, with the aims of: developing a picture of the lives of families living in three areas identified as experiencing economic and social disadvantage; exploring how families living in these areas interact with their community; and examining the impact of where they live on their engagement with the labour market.

The project involved a research study with families living within the three areas, and a documentary with other selected families. Additional funding was provided by DEEWR to allow for a researcher to visit the families who participated in the documentary around eight months after being filmed to talk about what had happened in their lives since. This information was then summarised and added to the closing credits of the documentary.

By adding to the understanding of factors leading to concentrations of joblessness and other forms of disadvantage, the research report and documentary produced as part of the Street Stories project will assist with the development of programs that effectively address area-based disadvantage, such as the Family-Centred Employment Project.

Planned outputs Actual outputs Outcomes
Draft project report to DEEWR
Final project report
Documentary
Early themes report submitted
Draft report submitted
Final report submitted
Documentary submitted
Evidence base to assist with the development of employment programs in disadvantaged areas

Stronger Families in Australia Study Extension: SFIA-II

Project duration 2011-13
Funding source(s) FaHCSIA
Partner organisation(s) SPRC
Research Plan 2009-12 theme(s) Economic wellbeing of families   X
Families and work   X
Social inclusion   X
Violence, abuse and neglect   XX
Children, young people and their families   XX
Related project(s) Caring for Disabled Children; Communities and Families Clearinghouse Australia; National Child Protection Clearinghouse

The Institute has been funded to extend the Stronger Families in Australia (SFIA) study. The original SFIA study, completed in 2008-09, was a central component of the National Evaluation of the Stronger Families and Communities Strategy - an area-based intervention aimed at improving outcomes for young children and their families living in disadvantaged communities in Australia. SFIA was designed to evaluate the Communities for Children (CfC) initiative and was conducted in partnership with the Social Policy Research Centre, University of New South Wales. It entailed a three-wave longitudinal study of 2,202 children (aged about 2 years old in 2006) and families living in 10 sites that have a CfC program ("CfC sites") and five non-CfC sites that were otherwise comparable to the CfC sites. The results of this study suggested that the CfC initiative had small but positive effects on children, families and communities - effects that may become more pronounced over time. The CfC initiative is now a major component of the new Family Support Program.

The new study will entail an additional two waves of telephone interviews with the original SFIA sample (the children are about 7 years old in 2011), and two waves of telephone interviews to evaluate the effectiveness of CfC Plus, to be conducted in 2011 and 2012. The CfC Plus initiative builds on the CfC approach but has a stronger focus on child protection services. It also encompasses services that primarily target adults in order to address known parental risk factors, including mental health problems, family violence, housing difficulties and substance abuse. For example, children will be supported as part of an integrated treatment plan for adults with mental illness or substance abuse histories.

Seven new sites that have been selected for the CfC Plus program ("CfC Plus sites") will be a part of this second cohort, as well as four contrast or "non-CfC Plus sites", which are otherwise comparable to the CfC Plus sites. There is a target of 1,840 interviews for Wave 1 for this cohort, with approximately half involving 2-year-olds and the other half involving 7-year-olds, thus enabling comparisons to be made between children of the same ages in both the CfC and CfC Plus cohorts.

Planned outputs Actual outputs Outcomes
Contract fieldwork agency Fieldwork agency contracted Preparations for survey initiated
Quality of study evaluation enhanced
Finalise survey specification Required content for CfC Cohort Wave 4 and CfC Plus Cohort Wave 1 surveys established
Submit ethics application Ethics application submitted
Publication 1 journal article on SFIA published Researchers and policy-makers informed about the effectiveness of community-based programs

Publications

  • Edwards, B., Gray, M., Wise, S., Hayes, A., Katz, I., Muir, K., & Patulny, R. (2011). Early impacts of Communities for Children on children and families: Findings from a quasi-experimental, cohort study. Journal of Epidemiology and Community Health. Advance online publication. doi:10.1136/jech.2010.118133

Time Use in Families

Project duration 2007-10
Funding source(s) Appropriation
Partner organisation(s) ANU
Research Plan 2009-12 theme(s) Families and work   XX
Social inclusion   X
Family transitions and family law   X
Children, young people and their families   XX
Related project(s) Growing Up in Australia: Longitudinal Study of Australian Children; Labour Market Issues for Families; Trends in Workforce Decisions of Women With Children

The Time Use in Families project was initiated in 2007 to better understand the ways in which family members spend their time, along with the contribution of time use to personal wellbeing. The project includes analyses of interactions between work and family.

Several research streams were aligned to this project, including analysis of parental time with children, infant time use, adult time use, and perceptions about their experiences of time. The project leverages existing data sources, including data from LSAC and ABS time use data. In 2010-11, a significant research project related to this topic involved the analysis of fathering in Australia, using LSAC data (see entry under Growing Up in Australia).

Research in this area will be reported in the Labour Market Issues for Families project in future years.

Planned outputs Actual outputs Outcomes
Publications 1 journal article Contribution to policy development in relation to supportive workplace and family environments

Publication(s)

  • Baxter, J. (2010). Flexible work hours and other job factors in parental time with children. Social Indicators Research, 101(2), 239-242.

Trends in Workforce Decisions of Women With Children

Project duration 2010-11
Funding source(s) FaHCSIA
Research Plan 2009-12 theme(s) Economic wellbeing of families   XX
Families and work   XX
Social inclusion   X
Family transitions and family law   X
Children, young people and their families   X
Related project(s) Labour Market Issues for Families; Time Use in Families

The aim of this project was to provide information about mothers' employment patterns, using the Household, Income and Labour Dynamics in Australia (HILDA) survey, with a focus on the characteristics of mothers who were not employed. The analyses explored how employment patterns varied for mothers with different characteristics, with a view to understanding the degree to which barriers such as health and low levels of education related to the non-employment of mothers. The final report has been submitted to FaHCSIA and this project is now complete.

Planned outputs Actual outputs Outcomes
Report to FaHCSIA Final report Contribution to policy development in relation to maternal employment.

Women in Custody and Sexual Assault Survival

Project duration December 2010 - July 2011
Funding source(s) NSW Corrective Services; Department of Justice; AGD
Research Plan 2009-12 theme(s) Social inclusion   X
Violence, abuse and neglect   XX
Related project(s) Australian Centre for the Study of Sexual Assault

The purpose of this project is to provide advice to Corrective Services NSW on the available research and practice evidence about how the effects of sexual victimisation relate to subsequent engagement in criminal behaviours. This includes a consideration of the constellation of social, economic and health issues faced by women in the criminal justice system as they relate to sexual victimisation. These include barriers to treatment success, such as: the low level of educational attainment, unemployment, substance addiction, and being the primary caregivers to dependent children.

The review of the literature will focus on the complex needs of incarcerated women, including specific issues in relation to Aboriginal women in prison. It will also explore transitional support to effect positive outcomes upon release and re-entry to the community, which is an important factor in reducing recidivism.

The project will aim to identify broad directions that can be taken to address sexual victimisation, while identifying the limitations to the provision of a therapeutic environment in the correctional setting.

Planned outputs Actual outputs Outcomes
Scoping review
Literature review and synthesis (final report)
Scoping review delivered
Presentation to Women's Advisory Council on emerging trends
Draft final report nearing completion
An evidence-informed framework to guide interventions and support (including health and other allied services) for women in correctional settings

Presentations

  • Stathopoulos, M., & Quadara, A. (2011, 27 February). Emerging trends arising from the scoping review. NSW Women's Advisory Council, Sydney.
  • Stathopoulos, M., & Quadara, A. (2011, 24 June). Women as victims: Women as offenders. Supporting women with trauma histories beyond prison. Trauma Informed Care and Practice Meeting the Challenge Conference, Sydney.

Report on performance - Clearinghouse activities

The Institute's clearinghouses identify, gather, synthesise and publish research and resources within a specialist field. By linking research findings into policy and practice, the clearinghouses provide evidence to support the decisions and practices of policy-makers and service providers. The Institute's clearinghouses deploy a wide range of communication tools for target stakeholders - policy-makers and service providers - and the media, researchers, students, peak bodies and individuals in the community.

In 2010-11, the Institute continued its management of four national clearinghouses:

  • Australian Centre for the Study of Sexual Assault (ACSSA);
  • Australian Family Relationships Clearinghouse (AFRC);
  • Communities and Families Clearinghouse Australia (CAFCA); and
  • National Child Protection Clearinghouse (NCPC).

In partnership with the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare (the lead agency), the Institute also contributes to the Closing the Gap Clearinghouse.

Clearinghouse publications

The AIFS clearinghouses produce a wide range of publications to communicate knowledge, particularly to service providers and policy-makers. Publications vary in format from substantial, in-depth research papers through to brief newsletters. Publications include:

  • Issues papers - in-depth research papers that focus on relevant policy, practice and research topics;
  • Briefings - short papers that synthesise or translate key messages from research or practice and summarise issues;
  • Resource Sheets - concise summaries that provide summaries of, and up-to-date facts and statistics about, a specific issue;
  • newsletters - including literature highlights, news in brief, program and agency spotlights, updates and summaries of research and practice, and current and emerging topics in the field; and
  • Promising Practice Profiles (PPPs) - describing innovative programs and practices.

Clearinghouse knowledge exchange

The clearinghouses transfer and exchange knowledge between researchers, policy-makers and practitioners through:

  • presentations at conferences, seminars and forums;
  • representation on state-based and national advisory groups and committees;
  • media interviews and articles undertaken in response to clearinghouse publications and activities;
  • information helpdesk service provided by experienced reference librarians from the AIFS Library or researchers;
  • electronic resources in the AIFS Library collection, which are available via clearinghouse websites; and
  • print resources available via the AIFS Library interlibrary loan system to library members.

Clearinghouse online resources

Online media are used extensively by the AIFS clearinghouses as effective and efficient means of disseminating clearinghouse knowledge and information to generalist and specialist audiences, including:

  • clearinghouse websites - access to clearinghouse publications and newsletters; Promising Practice Profiles; new literature on research, policy and practice; annotated bibliographies; information on events, conferences and training; links to Australian and international organisations; and access to the clearinghouse library collections;
  • electronic alerts - provide up-to-date information about sector news and events, new publications, notices about research participation, professional development opportunities: ACSSA-alert; AFRC-alert; CAFCA-alert; and NCPC-alert;
  • childprotect - a moderated NCPC discussion list that facilitates the exchange of information between professionals; and
  • bibliographic resources - accessible via ACSSA, AFRC and NCPC websites, and describing journal articles; conference papers; books and chapters; government and research reports; discussion, working and unpublished papers; statistical documents; and theses.

Australian Centre for the Study of Sexual Assault

Project duration Operating at AIFS since 2003
Funding sources FaHCSIA
Research Plan 2009-11 theme(s) Social inclusion   X
Violence, abuse and neglect   XX
Related project(s) Closing the Gap Clearinghouse; Giving Voice to Victim/Survivors' Knowledge of Sexual Offending; A New Legal Frontier? The Role of Social Networking Services and Mobile Phone Technology in Facilitating Sexual Violence; Women in Custody and Sexual Assault Survival

The Australian Centre for the Study of Sexual Assault (ACSSA) is the national centre for the collection and dissemination of current information and research on sexual assault. The aim of the clearinghouse is to assist service providers, policy-makers and others working in the field to improve responses to and ultimately reduce the incidence of sexual assault.

The clearinghouse provides evidence about all forms of sexual assault, with a focus on the sexual assault of women and girls over 15 years of age and adult survivors of child sexual abuse.

The main functions of the centre are to: facilitate access to national policy-relevant data; establish a comprehensive evidence base and provide information and advice on research and best practice approaches for interventions in response to sexual assault; stimulate debate among policy-makers, academics and service providers about the most effective strategies to prevent, respond to and reduce the incidence of sexual assault; and raise awareness of sexual assault and its impact on the Australian community.

Planned outputs Actual outputs Outcomes
Publications
Issues papers (2 per year) 2 Resource Sheets (online only) 2,585 print publications distributed to 517 subscribers (61% decrease from 2009-10) a
176,689 publication downloads (51% increase from 2009-10)
Enhanced provision of evidence-informed policy and practice in sexual assault sector
Briefings (2 per year) 2 ACSSA Wraps
Newsletter (4 per year) 3 ACSSA Aware newsletters
Promising Practice Profiles (PPPs) 1 new PPP added
48 PPPs available at 30 June 2011
36,625 PPP downloads (5% decrease from 2009-10)
Working With practice series 2 Working With publications uploaded to website
Knowledge exchange
Presentations, seminars, briefings 23 presentations/briefings by ACSSA staff at conferences, seminars, meetings and forums
3 ACSSA-facilitated seminars hosting other presenters
Knowledge exchanged among policy-makers, services providers and researchers about the most effective strategies for reducing the incidence of sexual assault and improving responses
Representation 6 board, committee, reference and advisory group memberships
Information and research helpdesk service 129 research helpdesk inquiries (stable compared to 2009-10)
Library collection b

75 new relevant items added
1,708 relevant items held at 30 June 2011 (3% increase from 2009-10)

Online resources
ACSSA website <www.aifs.gov.au/acssa> 428,464 web pages downloaded (14% increase from 2009-10) Improved access, particularly electronic access, to national policy- and practice-relevant data and resources
Electronic alerts 11 editions of ACSSA-alert distributed
1,405 subscribers at 30 June 2011 (17% increase from 30 June 2010)
Bibliographies 18 bibliographies related to sexual assault
60,162 downloads (25% increase from 2009-10)
Provision of automatically updated search bibliographies

Notes: a The ACSSA print publication mail list was refreshed in the final quarter of 2009-10 by removing duplicate records, emphasising electronic communication rather than printed copies, and using centralised distribution points within key organisations, resulting in a lower number of subscribers in 2010-11. b Items include books, reports, articles, conference papers and audiovisual material.

Publications

ACSSA Aware
  • ACSSA Aware No. 24 (2010)
  • ACSSA Aware No. 25 (2010)
  • ACSSA Aware No. 26 (2011)
ACCSA Wrap
  • Allimant, A., & Ostapiej-Piatkowski, B. (2011). Supporting women from CALD backgrounds who are victim/survivors of sexual violence: Challenges and opportunities for practitioners (ACSSA Wrap No. 9). Melbourne: Australian Institute of Family Studies.
  • Parkinson, D. (2010). Supporting victims through the legal process: The role of sexual assault service providers (ACSSA Wrap No. 8). Melbourne: Australian Institute of Family Studies.
Other publications
  • Clark, H. (2010). What is the justice system willing to offer? Understanding sexual assault victim/survivors' criminal justice needs. Family Matters, 85, 28-37.

Presentations

  • Clark, H. (2010, 9 July). Women's understandings of sexual offending and re-victimisation. 11th Australian Institute of Families Conference, Melbourne.
  • Clark, H. (2011, 30 September). Victim/survivors' knowledge of sexual offending and re-victimisation. 23rd Annual Australia and New Zealand Society of Criminology (ANZSOC) Conference, Cross-Border Domestic and Transnational Crime: Risks and Responses, Alice Springs, NT.
  • Clark, H. (2010, 19 November). Interagency collaboration and sexual assault. Sexual Assault Service Providers annual general meeting, Launceston, Tasmania.
  • Quadara, A. (2010, 9 July). The role of community and social level factors in women's experiences of sexual re-victimisation. 11th Australian Institute of Families Conference, Melbourne.
  • Quadara, A. (2010, 26 August). Where to now? Developing the evidence base for sexual assault prevention. Education Centre Against Violence NSW Health Forum, Sydney.
  • Quadara, A. (2010, 31 August). Gaps in the current evidence base and current and future directions to address them. CASA House Research Forum, Melbourne.
  • Quadara, A. (2010, 19 November). Gaps, priorities, and next steps: Building the sexual assault evidence base. Women's Health Forum, Gosford, NSW.
  • Quadara, A. (2010, 23 November). Risk, re-victimisation and sexual assault: Thinking through "vulnerability". SARC-CHIRI Symposium, Vulnerable Adults and Sexual Assault, Perth.
  • Quadara, A. (2011, 17 March). Victim-centred crisis care. Domestic Violence Interagency Collaboration Forum, Melbourne.
  • Quadara, A. (2011, 14 April). Responding to young people's disclosures of sexual abuse and sexual assault: Key issues. Practice Forum, Melbourne.
  • Quadara, A. (2011, 20 April). Victim/survivors' insights into sexual offending. WIRES Information Seminar, Melbourne.
  • Quadara, A. (2011, 27 April). Mother. Survivor. Client: Complex needs and complex clients. Keynote presentation, Sexual Assault Support Service and Australian Association of Social Workers conference, The Ghosts of Trauma Past: Sexual Abuse, Family Violence and Child Protection, Hobart.
  • Quadara, A. (2011, 28 April). Leaps and bounds: Developments in the sexual assault field. 25 Years of Sexual Assault Support Service, Hobart.
  • Quadara, A. (2011, 17 May). Victim/survivors's insights into sexual offending. Research briefing, WA Department of Public Prosecutions, Perth.
  • Stathopoulos, M., & Quadara, A. (2011, 24 June). Complex trauma, complex needs, complex clients: Supporting women with sexual abuse histories within - and beyond - the correctional system. Trauma-Informed Care and Practice Conference, Sydney.

Australian Family Relationships Clearinghouse

Project duration Operating at AIFS since 2006
Funding sources FaHCSIA
Research Plan 2009-12 theme(s) Economic wellbeing of families   X
Families and work   X
Social inclusion   X
Violence, abuse and neglect   X
Family transitions and family law   X
Children, young people and their families   XX
Related project(s) Closing the Gap Clearinghouse; Communities and Families Clearinghouse Australia; National Child Protection Clearinghouse; Parents and Children Articles: Raising Children Network; Research and Evaluation Collaboration: Berry Street; Research and Evaluation Collaboration: Interrelate Family Centres

The Australian Family Relationships Clearinghouse aims to improve the wellbeing of families and children by supporting practitioners, service providers and policy-makers in the development and delivery of family relationship programs and services. The AFRC has a particular focus on prevention and early intervention responses to family relationship issues.

Guided by an external reference group, the clearinghouse contributes to the goals of the Australian Government's Family Support Program by collecting and disseminating the latest relevant research and practice via publications and a website. The clearinghouse also functions as a resource and point of contact for providers of family relationship and support services. Policy-makers and members of the research and broader communities benefit from access to the latest developments in practice- and policy-related research through the AFRC website and publications.

Planned outputs Actual outputs Outcomes
Publications
Briefing (3 per year) 4 AFRC Briefings published 49 publications available online
157,236 publication downloads (35% increase from 2009-10)
Enhanced evidence-informed policy and improved practice in the family support sector
Newsletter (2 per year; previously 4 per year) 2 editions of Family Relationships Quarterly published
Issues (discontinued; previously 1 per year) 1 Issues paper published in five parts (funded in 2009-10 contract)
Knowledge exchange
Presentations 14 presentations Enhanced networking and information exchange relating to family relationships within and across sectors
Representation 4 board, committee, reference and advisory group memberships
Information helpdesk 43 research helpdesk inquiries (8% decrease from 2009-10)
Library collection and scheme AFRC stakeholders have access to the AIFS library collection
Online resources
AFRC website <www.aifs.gov.au/afrc> 443,512 Web page downloads (stable compared to 2009-10) Continuing capacity to improve access to up-to-date and relevant information for service providers, practitioners, policy-makers and other stakeholders
Electronic alerts 22 issues of AFRC-alert and other e-news alerts distributed
1,329 subscribers at 30 June 2011 (14% increase from 30 June 2010)
Bibliographies 83 bibliographies related to families and relationships available at 30 June 2011
106,969 bibliographies downloaded (10% decrease from 2009-10)
Resource links More than 380 resource entries at 30 June 2011
Key entry points created for information and resources on Indigenous families, family law and trends/statistics

Publication(s)

Family Relationships Quarterly
  • Family Relationships Quarterly No. 17 (September 2010) - special edition on Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander families
  • Family Relationships Quarterly No. 18 (March 2011)
AFRC Briefing
  • Armstrong, S. (2010). Enhancing access to family dispute resolution for families from culturally and linguistically diverse backgrounds (AFRC Briefing No. 18). Melbourne: Australian Family Relationships Clearinghouse.
  • Caruana, C., & McDonald, M. (2011). Social inclusion in the family support sector (AFRC Briefing No. 19). Melbourne: Australian Family Relationships Clearinghouse.
  • Parker, R., & Hunter, C. (2011). Supporting couples across the transition to parenthood (AFRC Briefing No. 20). Melbourne: Australian Family Relationships Clearinghouse.
  • Robinson, E., & Moloney, L. (2010). Family violence: Towards a holistic approach to screening and risk assessment in family support services (AFRC Briefing No. 17). Melbourne: Australian Family Relationships Clearinghouse.
AFRC Issues
  • Parker, R. (2010). Evaluation in family support services: Part A. Evaluation and innovation (AFRC Issues No. 6A). Melbourne: Australian Family Relationships Clearinghouse.
  • Parker, R. (2010). Evaluation in family support services: Part B: Broader issues. Evidence-based practice, service-based evaluation, and ethics in evaluation (AFRC Issues No. 6B). Melbourne: Australian Family Relationships Clearinghouse.
  • Parker, R. (2010). Evaluation in family support services: Part C: Basic principles in preparing for evaluation (AFRC Issues No. 6C). Melbourne: Australian Family Relationships Clearinghouse.
  • Parker, R. (2010). Evaluation in family support services: Part D: Getting started in evaluation. The devil is in the detail (AFRC Issues No. 6D). Melbourne: Australian Family Relationships Clearinghouse.
  • Parker, R. (2010). Evaluation in family support services: Part E: Evaluation. Dissemination and beyond (AFRC Issues No. 6E). Melbourne: Australian Family Relationships Clearinghouse.
Other
  • Robinson, E. (2011). Housing stress and the mental health of families. Parity, 24(3), 18-19.

Presentation(s)

  • Caruana, C. (2010, July). Partnerships in healing: An effective pathway to health and wellbeing for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples. Poster, Secretariat of National Aboriginal and Islander Child Care (SNAICC) National Conference, Alice Springs, NT.
  • Caruana, C. (2010, November). Partnerships in healing: An effective pathway to health and wellbeing for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples. Family Relationship Services Australia Conference, Melbourne.
  • Parker, R. (2010, September). Understanding partial agreements. Workshop, Interrelate Staff Conference, Newcastle, NSW.
  • Parker, R. (2010, November). Walking the talk: Evaluation in a service environment. 6th Australian Family and Community Strengths Conference, Newcastle, NSW.
  • Parker, R. (2011, April). Service-based evaluation in a domestic violence setting. Zena Women's Service, Geelong, Vic.
  • Parker, R., McDonald, M., & Higgins, J. (2010, August). Challenges in evaluating child and family welfare services. Association of Children's Welfare Agencies Conference, Sydney.
  • Robinson, E. (2010, September). What works with adolescents? Family connections and involvement in interventions. Department of Human Services Finding Solutions Conference, Melbourne.
  • Robinson, E. (2010, November). Family violence: Towards a holistic approach to screening and risk assessment in family support services. Family Relationship Services Australia Conference, Melbourne.
  • Robinson, E. (2010, November). Linking research to practice (and back again…). 6th Australian Family and Community Strengths Conference, Newcastle, NSW.
  • Robinson, E. (2010, November). What factors in the social environment influence healthy social and emotional development? Panel, ARACY Middle Years Symposium, Canberra.
  • Robinson, E. (2011, March). Clearinghouses: What are they? What role do they play? How do they support practitioners? Broadmeadows Family Relationship Services Reference Group Meeting, Broadmeadows, Victoria.
  • Robinson, E. (2011, May). Adolescents and their families. Department of Human Services, Family Services Forum, Bendigo, Victoria.
  • Robinson, E., & Power, L. (2010, July). What works with adolescents? Family connections and involvements in interventions. 11th Australian Institute of Family Studies Conference, Melbourne.
  • Smart, D. (2010, August). Young Australians' perceptions of life, relationships, marriage and parenthood. Workshop, Victorian Marriage and Relationship Educators' State Conference, Melbourne.

Closing the Gap Clearinghouse

Project duration July 2009 - June 2014
Funding source All Australian governments
Partner organisation(s) AIHW (lead agency)
Research Plan 2009-12 theme(s) Economic wellbeing of families   X
Families and work   X
Social inclusion   XX
Violence, abuse and neglect   X
Family transitions and family law   X
Children, young people and their families   X
Related project(s) Australian Centre for the Study of Sexual Assault; Australian Family Relationships Clearinghouse; Communities and Families Clearinghouse Australia; Indigenous Justice Programs Evaluation: Diversion Programs; National Child Protection Clearinghouse

The Closing the Gap Clearinghouse is delivered through a collaboration with the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare, the lead agency. The aim of the clearinghouse is to support policy-makers and service providers by delivering a central online source of evidence-based resources on programs, strategies and activities that work to overcome disadvantage for Indigenous Australians. The principal stakeholders are Commonwealth, State and Territory departments with responsibility for implementing actions under the Closing the Gap agenda. Clearinghouse resources will also be helpful to Indigenous communities, academic researchers, other research clearinghouses and the general public.

The Closing the Gap Clearinghouse provides a website hosted by the AIHW (with content contributions from AIFS), an electronic newsletter, online collections of research, literature and other information resources, and an online register for research and evaluations in progress or completed (within the last three years). In addition, the clearinghouse publishes Resource Sheets, Issues Papers and the annual Key Learnings and Gaps in the Evidence Paper.

The clearinghouse also undertakes outreach and networking and provides advice, the responsibility for which is shared between the AIHW and AIFS.

Planned outputs Actual outputs Outcomes
Publications
Publishing on a range of priority topics to support evidence-informed policy and practice 1 Issues Paper drafted
1 Resource Sheet published, 10 drafted, 3 under development
1 Key Learnings and Gaps in the Evidence Paper
Resources provided to policy-makers and service providers to support the design and delivery of programs/activities that work to overcome disadvantage for Indigenous Australians
Knowledge exchange
Jurisdictional visits with priority government stakeholders 7 completed Awareness raised of the clearinghouse as a central source for policy decisions and encouraging use of the research register
Preparation of promotional material PowerPoint presentation revised to explore year two achievements Facilitating information transfer to key stakeholders
Outreach, networking and specialist advice 3 conference presentations
5 inhouse presentations to interested research organisations/groups
4 events attended to distribute/display promotional materials
336 helpdesk inquiries
Expanding networks and outreach
Online resources
Closing the Gap website <www.aihw.gov.au/closingthegap> Website hosted by AIHW
43 links to other relevant sites
Delivery of a central online source of research and information on overcoming disadvantage for Indigenous Australians
Electronic alerts 5 issues of Closing the Gap e-News distributed
1,979 subscribers at 30 June 2011 (67% increase from 30 June 2010)
Keeping stakeholders informed about new research and resources on overcoming disadvantage for Indigenous Australians
Identification of research for the clearinghouse's General Collection of resources Over 4,700 items identified (4% increase from 2009-10) Providing stakeholders with background information relating to the COAG building blocks
Compilation of shortlists of research to be assessed by subject matter experts for Assessed Collection 308 items assessed
608 items in collection (100% increase from 2009-10)
Providing information about research evidence to guide/inform decisions related to policy-making and service delivery
Identification of in-progress and recently completed research relevant to the COAG building blocks 200 entries added
658 entries in total (44% increase from 2009-10)
Promoting awareness of current/recent research activities and facilitates collaboration

Communities and Families Clearinghouse Australia

Project duration Operating at AIFS since July 2005
Funding source FaHCSIA
Research Plan 2009-12 theme(s) Social inclusion   X
Violence, abuse and neglect   X
Children, young people and their families   XX
Related project(s) Australian Family Relationships Clearinghouse; Closing the Gap Clearinghouse; National Child Protection Clearinghouse; Stronger Families in Australia Study Extension: SFIA-II

The Communities and Families Clearinghouse Australia is funded by FaHCSIA to act as an information advisory unit focused on children and families living in disadvantaged communities. The primary aim of CAFCA is to facilitate the use of research among Australian policy-makers and practitioners whose work relates to children (0-12 years) and families in disadvantaged communities. The clearinghouse collects, produces and distributes information and resources about this topic.

Planned outputs Actual outputs Outcomes
Publications
Practice Sheets 8 CAFCA Practice Sheets 104,475 publication downloads (43% increase from 2009-10) Enhanced evidence-informed policies and practices in the sectors that deliver services to children and families, especially in disadvantaged communities
Resource Sheets 3 CAFCA Resource Sheets
Practice Profiles 1 CAFCA PPP added
62 PPPs available at 30 June 2011
73,057 PPP downloads (37% increase from 2009-10)
Knowledge exchange
Presentations 5 presentations Knowledge exchanged among policy-makers and services providers to improve the services for children and families, especially in disadvantaged communities
Information helpdesk 28 research helpdesk inquiries (133% increase from 2009-10)
Library collection and scheme CAFCA stakeholders have access to the AIFS library collection and Library Membership Scheme
Online resources
CAFCA website <www.aifs.gov.au/cafca> 190,468 web pages downloaded (46% increase from 2009-10) Improved planning and delivery of services to children and families through access by policy-makers and practitioners to up-to-date information and evidence
Electronic alerts 11 editions of CAFCA-alert (previously CAFCA-chat) distributed
517 subscribers at 30 June 2010 (70% increase from 30 June 2010)
Bibliographies 34 bibliographies related to children and families in disadvantaged communities at 30 June 2011 a

Note: a CAFCA bibliographies were made available to users for the first time in June 2011.

Publication(s)

  • McDonald, M. (2010). Are disadvantaged families "hard to reach"? Engaging disadvantaged families in child and family services (CAFCA Practice Sheet). Melbourne: Australian Institute of Family Studies.
  • McDonald, M. (2010). Building the capacity of professionals through post-qualification development and training (CAFCA Practice Sheet). Melbourne: Australian Institute of Family Studies.
  • McDonald, M. (2011). Social inclusion and social exclusion: Resources for child and family services (CAFCA Resource Sheet). Melbourne: Australian Institute of Family Studies.
  • McDonald, M. (2011). What role can child and family services play in enhancing opportunities for parents and families? Exploring the concepts of social exclusion and social inclusion (CAFCA Practice Sheet). Melbourne: Australian Institute of Family Studies.
  • McDonald, M., & Rosier, K. (2011). Collecting data from parents and children for the purposes of evaluation: Issues for children and family services in disadvantaged communities (CAFCA Practice Sheet). Melbourne: Australian Institute of Family Studies.
  • Parker, R. (2010). Evaluating programs (CAFCA Resource Sheet). Melbourne: Australian Institute of Family Studies.
  • Parker, R., & McDonald, M. (2010). Assessing and responding to parenting support needs in disadvantaged families: Lessons from parent education programs (CAFCA Practice Sheet). Melbourne: Australian Institute of Family Studies.
  • Price-Robertson, R. (2010). Supporting young parents (CAFCA Practice Sheet). Melbourne: Australian Institute of Family Studies.
  • Price-Robertson, R. (2011). What is community disadvantage? Understanding the issues, overcoming the problem (CAFCA Resource Sheet). Melbourne: Australian Institute of Family Studies.
  • Price-Robertson, R., & McDonald, M. (2011). What role can child and family services play in enhancing opportunities for parents and families: Exploring the concepts of social exclusion and social inclusion (CAFCA Practice Sheet). Melbourne: Australian Institute of Family Studies.
  • Tehan, B., & M. McDonald (2010). Engaging fathers in child and family services (CAFCA Practice Sheet). Melbourne: Australian Institute of Family Studies.

Presentation(s)

  • McDonald, M. (2010, 2 August). Innovative methods for engaging disadvantaged families: Lessons from Promising Practice Profiles. Association of Children's Welfare Agencies Conference, Sydney.
  • McDonald, M. (2010, 25 November). Social inclusion in child and family services. Children, Communities, Connections Conference, Adelaide.
  • McDonald, M., Bromfield, L., Parker, R., & Higgins. D. (2010, 8 July). Building a robust evidence base through research/practice collaboration: Lessons from Promising Practice Profiles. Poster, Australian Institute of Family Studies Conference, Melbourne.
  • McDonald, M., & Parker, R. (2010, February). Learning from Promising Practice Profiles. Building Practice-Based Evidence Through the Evaluation of Parenting and Early Childhood Intervention Programs Seminar, Melbourne.
  • Parker, R., McDonald, M., & Higgins, J. (2010, 3 August). Challenges in evaluating child & family welfare services. Association of Children's Welfare Agencies Conference, Sydney.

National Child Protection Clearinghouse

Project duration Operating at AIFS since 1995
Funding source FaHCSIA
Research Plan 2009-12 theme(s) Social inclusion   X
Violence, abuse and neglect   XX
Children, young people and their families   X
Related project(s) Australian Family Relationships Clearinghouse; Closing the Gap Clearinghouse; Communities and Families Clearinghouse Australia; Protecting Australia's Children Research Audit (1995-2010); Stronger Families in Australia Study Extension: SFIA-II

The National Child Protection Clearinghouse is a research and information advisory unit focused on child abuse prevention, child protection and out-of-home care. The clearinghouse aims to resource and support the child and family welfare sector to make evidence-informed policy and practice decisions. It collects, produces and distributes information and resources, conducts research, and offers specialist advice on the latest developments in child abuse prevention, child protection and out-of-home care. The clearinghouse receives regular requests for information from policy-makers within the Australian and State and Territory governments, a strong indication of its significance within the field.

The clearinghouse is funded by FaHCSIA, as part of the Australian Government's response to the problem of child abuse and neglect.

Planned outputs Actual outputs Outcomes
Publications
Issues papers 3 Issues papers 596,750 publication downloads (44% increase from 2009-10) Enhanced evidence-informed policy and practice in the child abuse prevention, child protection and out-of-home care sectors
Resource Sheets 3 new Resource Sheets
9 updated Resource Sheets
Knowledge exchange
Presentations 7 presentations Knowledge exchange among policy-makers, services providers and researchers on latest developments in child abuse prevention and protecting children
Information helpdesk 184 research helpdesk inquiries (15% increase from 2009-10)
Library collection a 514 new relevant items added
6,140 relevant items held at 30 June 2011 (9% increase from 30 June 2010)
Latest research and practice readily available to researchers, policy-makers and practitioners
Library membership 227 NCPC library members at 30 June 2011 (3% increase from 2009-10)
Online resources
NCPC website <www.aifs.gov.au/nch> 895,621 web pages downloaded (24% increase from 2009-10) Enhanced access to major resources for child protection information in Australia
Electronic alerts 12 editions of NCPC-alert distributed
3,016 subscribers at 30 June 2011 (22% increase from 30 June 2010)
Discussion list 67 messages posted on childprotect moderated discussion list
786 subscribers at 30 June 2011 (15% increase from 30 June 2010)
Bibliographies 30 bibliographies related to child protection
61,688 downloads (2% decrease from 2009-10)

Note: a Items include books, reports, articles, conference papers and audiovisual material.

Publication(s)

Issues papers
  • Bromfield, L., Lamont, A., Parker, R., & Horsfall, B. (2010). Issues for the safety and wellbeing of children in families with multiple and complex problems: The co-occurrence of domestic violence, parental substance misuse, and mental health problems (NCPC Issues Paper No. 33). Melbourne: Australian Institute of Family Studies.
  • Higgins, D., & Kaspiew R. (2011). Child protection and family law: Joining the dots (NCPC Issues No. 34). Melbourne: Australian Institute of Family Studies.
  • Horsfall, B., Bromfield, L., & McDonald, M. (2010). Are social marketing campaigns effective in preventing child abuse and neglect? (NCPC Issues Paper No. 32). Melbourne: Australian Institute of Family Studies.
New Resource Sheets
  • Lamont, A., & Bromfield, L. (2010). History of child protection services (NCPC Resource Sheet). Melbourne: Australian Institute of Family Studies.
  • Lohoar, S., & Price-Robertson, R. (2011). Helplines and telephone counselling services for children, young people and parents (NCPC Resource Sheet). Melbourne: Australian Institute of Family Studies.
  • Price-Robertson, R., & Bromfield, L. (2011). Risk assessment in child protection (NCPC Resource Sheet). Melbourne: Australian Institute of Family Studies.
Updated Resource Sheets
  • Berlyn, C., Bromfield, L., & Lamont, A. (2011, April). Child protection and Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children (NCPC Resource Sheet). Melbourne: Australian Institute of Family Studies.
  • Berlyn, C., Holzer, P., & Higgins, D. (2011, February). Pre-employment screening: Working with children checks and police checks (NCPC Resource Sheet). Melbourne: Australian Institute of Family Studies.
  • Bromfield, L., Holzer, P., & Lamont, A. (2011, April). The economic costs of child abuse and neglect (NCPC Resource Sheet). Melbourne: Australian Institute of Family Studies.
  • Higgins, D., Bromfield, L., Richardson, N., Holzer, P., & Berlyn, C. (2010, August). Mandatory reporting of child abuse (NCPC Resource Sheet). Australian Institute of Family Studies, Melbourne.
  • Lamont, A. (2010, December). Child deaths from abuse and neglect in Australia (formerly Fatal child abuse) (NCPC Resource Sheet). Melbourne: Australian Institute of Family Studies.
  • Lamont, A. (2011, February). Child abuse and neglect statistics (NCPC Resource Sheet). Melbourne: Australian Institute of Family Studies.
  • Lamont, A. (2011, February). Who abuses children? (NCPC Resource Sheet). Melbourne: Australian Institute of Family Studies.
  • Lamont, A. (2011, March). Children in care (NCPC Resource Sheet). Melbourne: Australian Institute of Family Studies.
  • Lamont, A. & Holzer, P. (2010, July). Children's commissioners and guardians (NCPC Resource Sheet). Australian Institute of Family Studies, Melbourne.

Presentation(s)

  • Higgins, D. (2011, 6 May). Child safety and protection in Indigenous communities. Australasian Institute of Judicial Administration Conference, Brisbane.
  • Higgins, D., & Kaspiew, R. (2011, 6 May). Child protection and family law: Joining the dots. Australasian Institute of Judicial Administration Conference, Brisbane.
  • Lamont, A., & Bromfield, L. (2010, 2 August). Parental intellectual disability and child protection: Key issues. Association of Child Welfare Agencies Conference, Sydney.
  • Lamont, A., & Bromfield, L. (2010, 15 October). Families with multiple and complex problems: Issues for the safety and wellbeing of children. Australian College for Child and Family Protection Practitioners National Conference, Canberra.
  • Price-Robertson, R., Bromfield, L., & Vasallo, S. (2010, 7 July). What is the prevalence of child abuse and neglect in Australia? A review of the evidence. 11th Australian Institute of Family Studies Conference, Melbourne.
  • Robinson, E. (2010, 13 September). What works for adolescents? Family connections and involvement in interventions. Finding Solutions Conference, Melbourne.
  • Robinson, E. (2011, 2 May). Adolescents and their families. North Central Victoria Family Services Alliance Forum, Bendigo, Vic.

Report on performance - Communications activities

Overview

A key role for the Institute is to communicate research about issues affecting families in Australia. To do so, the Institute disseminates a wide range of information and research-based products and services, and undertakes knowledge exchange activities through research; submissions and advisory services to government; production of publications; communications services; information collection and library services; conferences, seminars and presentations; representation on editorial and advisory boards; and consultation activities.

During the reporting period, the Australian Information Commissioner Act 2010 and the Freedom of Information Amendment (Reform) Act 2010 came into force in response to 2009 recommendations made by the Government 2.0 Taskforce. In accordance with the new legislation, the Institute published the information required under the new Information Publication Scheme (see also Appendix A, "Freedom of information") and prepared for the introduction of the Creative Commons licensing system for all public sector information (PSI) available from the Institute. Implementation of this system will take place during 2011-12.

Publications

In addition to the wide range of publications produced in the course of its research activities, the Institute also publishes its research journal, Family Matters, the Research Paper and Research Report series and other publications. Table 3.4 shows that, overall, the distribution of AIFS publications increased substantially in 2010-11 over previous years.


Table 3.4. Publication distribution, 2008-09 to 2010-11
  2008-09 2009-10 2010-11 a Change from previous year
Total publications distributed in print 61,865 53,664 18,436 -66%
Total publication downloads across all AIFS websites 1,582,985 1,685,727 2,212,249 +31%
Total publications distributed 1,644,850 1,739,391 2,230,685 +28%

Note: a The reduction in numbers of print publications distributed in 2010-11 reflects the Institute's ongoing process to move more towards online distribution. This was achieved through refining our mailing lists and reducing print distribution numbers.

Family Matters journal

Family Matters is one of the Institute's main research dissemination vehicle, with the primary purpose of keeping local and international readers informed about Institute research and activities. In addition, the journal keeps its readers informed of a broad range of family-related research by publishing articles from other Australian and overseas authors. Family Matters is a fully refereed academic journal recognised by the Department of Innovation, Industry, Science and Research for the purposes of Higher Education Research Data Collection.

Family Matters provides a diverse range of perspectives and analyses of family research and policy options. In addition to research articles on family-related topics, regular columns include the Director's report, information and discussion of new developments in family law, reports of Institute seminars, information about Institute programs and activities and notes on new books.

Three editions of Family Matters were prepared in 2010-11.

  • Family Matters, No. 86, 2010 - "Family law" - featured articles on the AIFS evaluation of the 2006 family law reforms; care-time arrangements; shared post-separation parenting; post-separation parenting arrangements; the effect of family violence on post-separation parenting arrangements; mothers who are liable to pay child support; relocation disputes in separated families; and persistent work-family strain among Australian mothers.
  • Family Matters, No. 87, 2011 - "Sustaining families in challenging times" - featured articles based on presentations made at the 11th Australian Institute of Family Studies Conference in July 2010. Issues covered included: being time poor; children in poverty; UK family policy, lone mothers and paid work; families at risk; living-apart-together relationships; and past adoption practices in Australia.
  • Family Matters, No. 88, 2011 - "Family resources, roles and responsibilities" - focused on a range of issues related to family roles and responsibilities. Topics covered include: intergenerational bequests; fathering in Australia; family violence; the effect of pregnancy and newborns on the household budget; grandparenting and the 2006 family law reforms; shared care time; and family involvement in interventions for adolescent problem behaviours. This issue was prepared during 2010-11 for publication in the second half of 2011.

In 2010-11, Family Matters was available by subscription, in hard copy from AIFS and online from RMIT Publishing's Informit e-Library. To meet the Institute's aim of reaching a wide and diverse audience, it was also distributed at no cost to an extensive list of members of parliament, key policy-makers, and the media. During the reporting period, it was decided to make changes to the subscription model for Family Matters - from 2011-12 onwards, two longer issues of the journal will be published each year and all issues will be immediately available online for free, under a Creative Commons licence, with printed copies still being available on paid subscription.

Family Matters continues to draw considerable media attention, with follow-up radio and press interviews and articles.

Research papers and reports

The Research Paper series is an important means by which Institute research findings and methodologies are made public. The series disseminates Institute research to policy-makers, practitioners and researchers, with the aim of encouraging dialogue with research and policy communities. In 2010-11, two Research Papers were published:

  • Taylor, M., & Gray, M. (2010). The impact of child support payments on the labour supply decisions of resident mothers (Research Paper No. 47). Melbourne: Australian Institute of Family Studies.
  • Baxter, J., & Renda, J. (2011). Lone and couple mothers in the Australian labour market: Exploring differences in employment transitions (Research Paper No. 48). Melbourne: Australian Institute of Family Studies.

The Research Report series comprises more substantial works that report on research findings of a major project. In 2010-11, one Research Report was published:

  • Clark, H., & Quadara, A. (2010). Insights into sexual assault perpetration: Giving voice to victim/survivors' knowledge (Research Report No. 18). Melbourne: Australian Institute of Family Studies.
Other publications

In addition to Family Matters, reports resulting from commissioned research, and articles and chapters published in external journals and books, Institute staff also produce occasional publications aimed at a broader audience that distil major research findings on topical issues. To this end, two Facts Sheets were published in 2010-11:

  • Hayes, A., Weston, R., Qu, L., & Gray, M. (2010). Families then and now: 1980-2010 (Facts Sheet). Melbourne: Australian Institute of Family Studies. This publication was prepared to celebrate the 30th anniversary of research by the Australian Institute of Family Studies.
  • Baxter, J., Hayes, A., & Gray, M. (2011). Families in regional, rural and remote Australia (Facts Sheet). Melbourne: Australian Institute of Family Studies. This Facts Sheet used data from LSAC and the ABS to describe the characteristics of Australian families living in the "city", "country" or the "bush".

In addition, for Families Week, 15-21 May 2011, the Institute published a short report: Families in Australia: Sticking Together in Good and Tough Times, prepared by Alan Hayes, Lixia Qu, Ruth Weston and Jennifer Baxter. The report drew on recent statistics to provide a picture of selected aspects of Australian families in 2011 and received considerable media attention. It is the first of what will be an annual series that will report on the progress of families in Australia.

A complete listing of Institute publications is available on the AIFS website: <www.aifs.gov.au>.

Submissions to inquiries and reviews

During the reporting period, the Institute's research staff prepared submissions to the following government inquiries and reviews:

  • July 2010 - Response to the report Family Violence: Improving Legal Frameworks. Australian Law Reform Commission and the New South Wales Law Reform Commission.
  • August 2010 - Response to the issues paper Confidentiality, Admissibility, Practitioner Immunity and Conduct Obligations in ADR Processes. National Alternative Dispute Resolution Advisory Council (NADRAC).
  • December 2010 - Inquiry into the Commonwealth Commissioner for Children and Young People Bill 2010. Senate Standing Committee on Legal and Constitutional Affairs.
  • January 2011 - Exposure Draft of the Family Law Amendment (Family Violence) Bill 2010. Attorney-General's Department.
  • February 2011 - Inquiry into the Commonwealth Contribution to Former Forced Adoption Policies and Practices. Senate Community Affairs References Committee.
  • February 2011 - Discussion paper on possible measures to address the practices of forced and servile marriage: A legal and service-based responses. Attorney-General's Department.
  • March 2011 - Response to the Consultation Paper on Children's Contact Services. Attorney-General's Department.
  • April 2011 - Inquiry into Family Law Legislation Amendment (Family Violence and Other Measures) Bill 2011. Senate Standing Committee on Legal and Constitutional Affairs.
  • May 2011 - Response to the consultation paper on Best Practice Principles for Use in Parenting Disputes When Family Violence or Abuse is Alleged. Family Court of Australia and Federal Magistrates Court.

Online communications

Websites

AIFS designs and hosts an external website <www.aifs.gov.au> and a number of subsites:

  • the Institute's four clearinghouses (ACSSA, AFRC, CAFCA and NCPC); and
  • the longitudinal research projects (LSAC and ATP).

Table 3.5 shows that the total page downloads for all AIFS websites increased slightly in 2010-11 from previous years.


Table 3.5. Websites page downloads, all AIFS websites and subsites, 2008-09 to 2010-11
2008-09 2009-10 2010-11 Change from previous year
3,627,043 3,759,485 3,922,377 +4%
Electronic alerts

AIFS email alerts, e-newsletters and discussion groups keep stakeholders up-to-date with the work and activities of the Institute and each other. The number of email list subscribers increased substantially in 2010-11 compared to previous years (Table 3.6).


Table 3.6. Subscribers to email lists, 2008-09 to 2010-11
List name June 2009 June 2010 June 2011 Change from previous year
AIFS-alert for AIFS research highlights 1,632 2,106 2,729 +30%
All AIFS alerts and lists: AIFS-alert, ACSSA-alert, AFRC-alert, CAFCA-alert, childprotect, growingup-refgroup 4,597 6,085 10,844a +78%

Note: a This figure includes the NCPC-alert statistics for which there are currently 3,016 subscribers

Social media
Facebook

In October 2010, AIFS launched a Facebook page as a low-cost channel to promote new publications, seminars and event photographs and, potentially, to undertake public consultations. At the end of the reporting period, the page had 97 people listed who "liked" the page.

It is anticipated that Facebook will increase awareness of Institute research activities, especially among journalists and the youth demographic. Risk management processes are in place to monitor the content of these pages.

Podcasts

Audio recordings of AIFS Seminar Series presentations are available as podcasts on the AIFS website, alongside transcripts and presentation slides. Podcasts are a useful tool for enabling people to listen to seminars after the event.

RSS feeds

AIFS offers RSS feeds to provide subscribers with rapid notification of new AIFS publications and event information.

Twitter

In 2010-11, the Institute continued to use Twitter as another channel to promote its activities online by sending micro text messages to subscribers. Twitter is used to promote Institute and clearinghouse activities, especially within youth and media markets. In particular, AIFS is using the medium to promote its seminars, conferences and publications.

The Institute now has six Twitter accounts with 770 followers. AIFS has one general account, and one for each of the AIFS clearinghouses (ACSSA, AFRC, CAFCA and NCPC).

Webinars

In 2010-11, the Institute introduced the capacity to conduct Webinars - or online interactive seminars (via a subscription to a service). Webinars integrate PowerPoint presentations,webcam images, participant presentations, slides, questions and messages. Hosting and participating in Webinars expands the capacity of AIFS to disseminate its research, build communities of practice and collaborate with invested stakeholders.

Wikipedia

Wikipedia lists information on the Institute's history and services. Wikipedia is a useful global reference tool for providing general information about AIFS. Ongoing monitoring is in place to manage the risk that public editing of the entry could result in inaccurate information being posted.

YouTube and video

The Institute has undertaken a cost-benefit analysis of using YouTube and video clips as media for disseminating information about AIFS, its research methods and its research findings. An AIFS YouTube channel is being created and will be launched in 2011-12.

External relations

External representation

AIFS staff serve on editorial boards, act as external reviewers for academic journals, and are members of steering committees, advisory committees and expert panels.

AIFS staff sat on the editorial boards of the following journals in 2010-11:

  • Australian Educational and Developmental Psychologist
  • Australian Journal of Family Law
  • Child Maltreatment: Journal of the American Professional Society on the Abuse of Children
  • Developing Practice: The Child youth and Family Work Journal
  • Family Science
  • Gay and Lesbian Issues and Psychology Review
  • Journal of Family Studies
  • Journal of Religion & Abuse: Advocacy, Pastoral Care and Prevention
  • Journal of Sexual and Relationship Therapy
  • Threshold: A Magazine About Marriage Education

In addition to providing editorial advice and services to the journals outlined above, AIFS staff acted as referees for the following publications in 2010-11:

  • Australian Institute of Health and Welfare, Australia's Welfare 2011
  • Australian Journal of Labour Economics
  • Australian Research Council Grants Scheme
  • Developmental Medicine and Clinical Neurology
  • Journal of Family and Economic Issues
  • Journal of Family Studies
  • Maternal and Child Health Journal
  • Youth Studies Australia

Institute researchers provide professional advice through their membership of external groups and forums:

  • Academic Advisory Board, School of Psychology, Deakin University
  • American Psychological Society
  • APS200 Leadership Forum, Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet and the Australian Public Service Commission
  • ARACY (Australian Research Alliance for Children and Youth)
  • ARACY Early Childhood Development Research Reference Group
  • ARACY Research Network, New Investigators Network, Advisory Group
  • Association of Industrial Relations Academics of Australian and New Zealand
  • Australasian Human Development Association Trust
  • Australasian Statutory Child Protection Learning and Development Group
  • Australian Consortium for Social and Political Research (ACSPRI)
  • Australian Domestic and Family Violence Clearinghouse Reference Group, University of New South Wales
  • Australian Population Association
  • Australian Psychological Society
  • Australian Social Policy Association
  • Brotherhood of St Laurence's Life Chances Study Advisory Group
  • Centre for Community Child Health, Platforms Advisory Group, Royal Children's Hospital, Melbourne
  • Channel 7 Children's Research Foundation
  • Chief Justice's Family Law Forum
  • Child Support National Stakeholder Engagement Group, FaHCSIA and Child Support Agency
  • Children and Families Research Centre Advisory Board, Macquarie University
  • Children and Youth Statistics Advisory Group, Australian Bureau of Statistics
  • Equal Opportunity for Women in the Workplace Act 1999 and Equal Opportunity for Women in the Workplace Agency, Implementation Advisory Group
  • Expert Reference Panel Relating to the Work of Family Consultants in the Family Court of Australia
  • Family Law Council, Attorney-General's Department
  • Family Law System Reference Group, Attorney-General's Department
  • Family Mediation Centre Services, Clinical Supervisor
  • Family Relationship Services Australia Conference 2010, Organising Committee
  • Family Statistics Advisory Group, Australian Bureau of Statistics
  • General Social Survey Reference Group, Australian Bureau of Statistics
  • Headline Indicator Data Development Expert Working Group, Australian Institute of Health and Welfare
  • Home Interaction Program for Parents and Youngsters (HIPPY), National Evaluation Advisory Group, DEEWR
  • Household, Income and Labour Dynamics in Australia, External Reference Group
  • Law Council of Australia, National Advisory Board of the Family Law Section
  • Longitudinal Studies Advisory Group, FaHCSIA
  • Marriage and Relationship Educators' Association of Australia, National Executive
  • National Association of Prevention of Child Abuse and Neglect, Victoria Advisory Council
  • National Council on Family Relations (USA)
  • National Families Week, Families Australia
  • National Marriage and Relationship Education Conference, Organising Committee
  • Pathways of Care: Longitudinal Study of Children and Young People in Out-of-Home Care in NSW, Academic Advisory Group
  • Raising Children Network: Parenting Information Website, Advisory Group
  • Relationships Australia, Professional Quality Committee
  • Social Policy Research Centre, University of New South Wales, Advisory Committee
  • Statewide Workforce Development Project, CASA House, Reference Group
  • Statistical Society of Australia, Victorian Branch Council
  • Victims of Crime Research Agenda Advisory Committee, NSW Department of Justice and Attorney-General
  • Violence Against Women Advisory Group, Minister for the Status of Women, The Hon. Tanya Plibersek
  • Work and Family Roundtable, DEEWR
Consultations

Individuals, government bodies and community sector organisations consult with AIFS, and Institute staff are members of a number of advisory groups. Such consultation is an indication of the Institute's involvement in the policy process. In the reporting period, consultations were undertaken covering a broad range of issues, including work and family, labour markets, social capital, child protection and social inclusion.

Visitors

A number of academics and representatives of government and community sector organisations from within and outside Australia met with Institute researchers to exchange ideas on issues of relevance to the Institute's research.

Key visitors (1 July 2010-30 June 2011)
  • Their Excellencies, the Governor-General of Australia and Mr Bryce (September 2010)
  • Delegation from the Singapore Ministry of Community, Development, Youth and Sports (July 2010)
  • Delegations from the New Zealand Families Commission (July and August 2010, and March 2011)
  • Ms Donna Goodwin, Manager, Families/Individuals, Customer and Product Innovation, Inland Revenue Department, New Zealand (August 2010)
  • Delegation from the Ministry of Education, Taiwan (September 2010)
  • Delegation from the Family Department, Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism, Vietnam (September 2010)
  • Delegation from the National Bureau of Statistics, People's Republic of China (November 2010)
  • UK Family Justice Review Group - Mr David Norgrove (Review Chair), Justice Andrew McFarlane (High Court) and members of the Secretariat (November 2010)
  • Delegations from the Ministry of Social Affairs, Indonesia (December 2010 and June 2011)
  • Mr Ross Gibbs, Director-General, National Archives of Australia (February 2011)
  • Their Honours, Judge Ogiwara, Tokyo District Court, and Assistant Judge Ueno, Okayama Family Court, Japan (March 2011)
  • Ms Han Jinjing, Child Protection Lawyer and Research Fellow, Beijing Children's Legal Aid and Research Centre (March 2011)
  • Delegation from the Social Services Committee, New Zealand Parliament - Ms Katrina Shanks MP (Chair) with members of the Committee and Secretariat (May 2011)
  • Visiting scholars:
    • Dr Leanne Smith, Cardiff Law School, UK (July 2010)
    • Dr Sharon Vincent, University of Edinburgh, UK (September 2010 to February 2011)
    • Associate Professor Anne Roeters, University of Utrecht, The Netherlands (March 2011)
    • Dr Vivienne Elizabeth, University of Auckland (May 2011).

Library and information services

Library

The library offers a highly responsive information service supporting the work of the Institute, and a specialist collection of online and hard copy resources on family-related research that is disseminated as widely and cost-effectively as possible.

AIFS Library services include:

  • an information helpdesk to support the four AIFS clearinghouses (ACSSA, AFRC, CAFCA and NCPC);
  • a reference service available to the wider community and support for visitors by appointment;
  • a library catalogue, available on the Institute's website; and
  • interlibrary loans to other libraries throughout Australia and overseas.
Knowledge base of bibliographic records

Since 1980, AIFS has created a knowledge base of more than 100,000 bibliographic records drawn from sociology, psychology, demography, health sciences, education, economics, law, history and social work source documents. The records describe relevant journal articles, conference papers, books, book chapters, government reports, research reports, discussion and working papers, unpublished papers, statistical documents and theses relevant to the study of families. AIFS bibliographic records are provided to the Libraries Australia National Bibliographic Database, managed by the National Library of Australia.

In 2010-11, in addition to using these records for the traditional purposes of recording and managing what is in the library collection, the Institute also drew on them to:

  • continue to build the Australian Family & Society Abstracts (AF&SA) database;
  • upload new records to Libraries Australia;
  • send relevant records to the AIHW to support the Closing the Gap Clearinghouse;
  • create bibliographies on current topics and display them on the clearinghouse websites; and
  • add details of new AIFS publications to the Institute's website.
Australian Family & Society Abstracts

AIFS has supplied more than 70,000 citations and abstracts from its bibliographic database for the AF&SA database. AF&SA resources are available at RMIT Publishing's Informit online service <www.informit.com.au>.

Conferences

Australian Institute of Family Studies Conference

The 11th AIFS Conference took place from 7 to 9 July 2010 at the Melbourne Convention Centre. In the Institute's 30th anniversary year, the conference was the focus of key celebrations of this major milestone in the life of the Institute, and to mark the occasion, the Parliamentary Secretary to the Prime Minister, The Hon. Anthony Byrne MP, launched the AIFS Facts Sheet, Families Then and Now: 1980-2010.

Structured around the Institute's Research Plan 2009-12: Sustaining Families in Challenging Times, the conference focused on the six major themes that shape the new plan: economic wellbeing of families; families and work; social inclusion; violence, abuse and neglect; family transitions and family law; and children, young people and their families. The conference was attended by 469 delegates from over 100 organisations. The program included 129 oral presentations and symposia and 40 poster presentations.

The Hon. Jenny Macklin MP, Minister for Families, Housing, Community Services and Indigenous Affairs, delivered the official opening address, which focused on paid parental leave, a policy area that has been informed by the Institute's research on work and family balance spanning its three decades.

Professor Bob Goodin, from the Research School of Social Sciences at the Australian National University, delivered the first keynote address. Professor Goodin provided a thought-provoking presentation titled Who's Really Time Poor?, based on his book Discretionary Time: A New Measure of Freedom.

The second keynote address was delivered by Professor Aletha C. Huston, from the University of Texas, USA. Professor Huston addressed the topic Children in Poverty: Can Public Policy Alleviate the Consequences? and discussed issues at the heart of the current social inclusion policy focus in Australia and internationally.

Professor Jane Millar, from the University of Bath, UK, provided the final keynote address. She presented data from her recent studies of lone mothers and children in low-income working households in an address titled Desperately Seeking Security: UK Family Policy, Lone Mothers and Paid Work, which highlighted comparisons between UK and Australian social policy approaches.

A plenary panel session closed each day of the conference - on the topics Family Law: Family Violence; Addressing Family Disadvantage; and Fair, Flexible, Family-friendly Workplaces - all of which stimulated lively discussions. The panel lead speakers included Judge Peter Boshier, Principal Judge of the Family Court of New Zealand; Ms Naomi Eisenstadt CB, from the United Kingdom; and Ms Elizabeth Broderick, the Australian Sex Discrimination Commissioner and Commissioner Responsible for Age Discrimination. They were ably supported by eminent panelists, including Professor Richard Chisholm AM; Dr Rae Kaspiew; Anne Hollonds; Patricia Faulkner AO; The Hon. Lilly D'Ambrosio MLA, Victorian Minister for Community Development; Tony Keenan, Chief Executive of Hanover Welfare, Victoria; Melinda Cilento, Deputy Chief Executive Officer, Business Council of Australia; and Ged Kearney, Incoming President of the Australian Council of Trade Unions (ACTU).

LSAC and LSIC Conference

Throughout 2010-11, preparations were underway for the next LSAC and LSIC Research Conference, to be held on 15-16 November 2011 at Rydges on Swanston, Melbourne. The conference will provide an important opportunity for researchers and policy-makers to discuss research based on LSAC and LSIC data.

Seminar Series

The AIFS Seminar Series is a public forum at which invited researchers and policy-makers speak on contemporary family-related research and social issues. AIFS Seminars are free and open to the public. Where practicable, the Institute provides presentation material and associated speaker papers for free download via the Institute website.

Seminars hosted by the Institute
8 September 2010
Professor Marianne Berry, Director, Australian Centre for Child Protection, University of South Australia
Current trends in child abuse and neglect in the United States: What might Australians learn and disregard from this evidence base?
13 October 2010
Dr Sharon Vincent, Senior Research Fellow, University of Edinburgh/National Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children Centre for UK-Wide Learning in Child Protection
Safeguarding and protecting children across the United Kingdom
9 November 2010
Professor Rosalind Croucher, President, Australian Law Reform Commission
Fractured families, fragmented responsibilities: Responding to family violence in a federal system
15 February 2011
Dr Rae Kaspiew, Senior Research Fellow, Australian Institute of Family Studies
Litigated relocation disputes 2002-2005: An empirical study
15 March 2011
Dr Belinda Hewitt, Senior Research Fellow, University of Queensland
Short-term physical, emotional and financial well-being after separation: Does initiator status make a difference?
14 April 2011
Professor Deborah Cobb-Clark, Director of the Melbourne Institute of Economic and Social Research
Disadvantages across the generations: What do we know about social and economic mobility in Australia?
10 May 2011
Gerry Redmond, Senior Research Fellow, Social Policy Research Centre, University of New South Wales
Investment in children in Australia: Do current patterns point towards increased intergenerational mobility in the future?
23 June 2011
Professor Barbara Pocock, Director of the Centre of Work and Life, University of South Australia
Work hours, requests for flexibility and work-life interference in Australia: What we know, what we need to know

Media coverage

The engagement of media is an important means of communicating the Institute's research findings about factors that affect family wellbeing. Eight media releases were issued in 2010-11.

The level of media coverage and audience reach of the Institute's research increased significantly in 2010-11 compared with previous years (Tables 3.7 and 3.8). A total of 3,556 reports across all media types mentioned the Institute's research, which was a 62% increase on the 2,197 reports recorded in 2009-10. Mentions in each media channel increased, with Internet mentions experiencing the biggest increase (71%).


Table 3.7. Number of mentions by media channel
Number of mentions 2008-09 2009-10 2010-11 Change from
previous year
Radio 1,272 1,191 1,946 +63%
Television 405 456 775 +70%
Press 193 192 333 +73%
Internet 322 358 502 +40%
Totals 2,192 2,197 3,556 +62%

Source: Media Monitors


Table 3.8. Audience reached by media channel
Audience circulationa 2008-09 2009-10 2010-11 Change from
previous year
Radio 11,892,400 9,546,800 15,004,300 +57%
Television 5,738,293 6,631,562 8,944,000 +35%
Press 50,813,103 47,045,156 62,573,820 +33%
Totals 68,443,796 63,223,518 87,212,920 +38%

Note: a Audience figures are unavailable for Internet media.

Source: Media Monitors

Report on performance - Financial activities

Operating results

With effect from 2010-11, depreciation and amortisation are no longer funded by appropriation from Government. Instead replacement of fixed assets is funded from the Departmental Capital Budget. As a result of this change it is expected that the Institute will have a deficit equivalent to the depreciation expense. The actual depreciation expense for 2010-11 was $296,686. The Institute finished the financial year 2010-11 with a deficit of $295,616, or a small surplus of $1,070 (2009-10: $1,962) after adjusting for depreciation and amortisation. The budgeted result in the Portfolio Budget Statements 2011-12 is a deficit of $306,000, equivalent to the budgeted depreciation expense.

See Table 3.9 for a summary of budgeted and actual expenses for 2010-11.


Table 3.9. Budgeted and actual expenses for Outcome 1, 2010-11, and budgeted expenses, 2011-12
Outcome 1: Increased understanding of factors affecting how families function by conducting research and communicating findings to policy-makers, service providers, and the broader community Budget 2010-11
$'000
Actual 2010-11
$'000
Variation (column 2 - column 1) ($'000) Budget 2011-12 ($'000)
Program 1.1: Australian Institute of Family Studies
Departmental expenses
Departmental appropriation 9,471 9,113 (358) 9,582
Expenses not requiring appropriation in the Budget year 330 319 (11) 373
Total for Program 1.1 9,801 9,432 (369) 9,955
Outcome 1 totals by appropriation type
Departmental expenses
Departmental appropriation 9,471 9,113 (358) 9,582
Expenses not requiring appropriation in the Budget year 330 319 (11) 373
Total expenses for Outcome 1 9,801 9,432 (369) 9,955
Average staffing level 66 64 (2) 64
Operating revenue

The total operating revenue was $9,136,647 and consisted of the following:

  • government appropriations of $3,518,000;
  • sale of goods and rendering of services of $5,454,391; and
  • other revenue of $164,256.

Revenue from government appropriations decreased by a net amount of $332,000 from 2009-10, mainly as result of the change in depreciation funding with some ongoing savings measures, offset partially by increases resulting from changes in prices and wages indices.

Operating expenses

Total operating expenses were $9,432,263 and consisted of:

  • employee costs of $6,674,420;
  • supplier expenses of $2,437,484;
  • depreciation and audit fees of $319,186; and
  • loss from asset sales of $1,173.

Balance sheet

Net asset position

The net asset position at 30 June 2011 was $1,728,907 (2009-10: $1,794,523).

Total assets

Total assets at 30 June 2011 were $6,340,451 (2009-10: $5,628,792). Financial assets increased by $1,001,956. The increase in financial assets was mainly due to an increase in receipt of prepaid revenue. Non-financial assets decreased by $290,297. The decrease in non-financial assets is due to additions of fixed assets being less than the depreciation for the year.

Total liabilities

Total liabilities at 30 June 2011 were $4,611,544 (2009-10: $3,834,269). The difference is mainly due to a increase in the level of unearned revenue in 2010-11.

4. Management and accountability

Management accountability is achieved with the support of the Corporate and Strategy area of the Institute. Corporate and Strategy provides a range of services to assist the Institute to meet its goals, through developing and applying improved financial, administrative, human resources and information technology policies and practices.

Corporate governance

The Institute operates under the Financial Management and Accountability Act 1997 ( FMA Act). The corporate focus throughout 2010-11 has been the effective maintenance of high standards of governance, accountability and reporting in order to fulfil all FMA requirements and build organisational capacity to achieve the Institute's research and communication objectives.

Fraud control

During the financial year 2010-11, no fraud was identified. A fraud risk assessment was conducted in December 2010.

Certification of fraud control arrangements

I, Alan Hayes, certify that I am satisfied that for the financial year 2010-11 the Institute, in compliance with the Commonwealth Fraud Control Guidelines, has:

  • had a fraud control plan prepared;
  • put in place appropriate fraud prevention, detection, investigation and reporting procedures and processes that meet the specific needs of the Institute.

Alan Hayes, Director
26 August 2011

Senior executive members

Professor Alan Hayes is the Director of the Institute. Two Deputy Directors and an Assistant Director (Research) assist the Director in leading and managing the Institute. Ms Sue Tait is Deputy Director (Corporate and Strategy), and since March 2011, Dr Daryl Higgins has been Deputy Director (Research), Ruth Weston has been in the newly established position of Assistant Director (Research). Up to December 2010, the position of Deputy Director (Research) was held by Dr Matthew Gray.

Senior management committees

The Director has overall responsibility for the leadership and management of the Institute. A number of committees and groups are in place to support this function.

Internal management committees
Executive

The Executive leads and coordinates all aspects of the research and corporate functions of the Institute. It comprises the Director, the two Deputy Directors and the Assistant Director (Research).

Strategic Leadership Group

The Strategic Leadership Group comprises the Executive and Managers from the corporate and research areas. The group is a strategic leadership forum providing advice to the Director and Deputy Directors.

Advisory and monitoring committees

The Institute supports sound management of its accountability, ethical and legislative responsibilities through the Advisory Council, the Risk Assessment and Audit Committee (RAAC), and the Human Research Ethics Committee.

Advisory Council

The role of the Advisory Council is to provide specialist advice to the Director in relation to strategic directions for Institute research, any significant proposed changes to the research program, key performance indicators for the Institute's research activities, and the development of future strategic and research plans. The Advisory Council met twice during 2010-11.

Members of the Advisory Council are appointed by the Minister for Social Inclusion.

Advisory Council members, 2010-11
  • Reverend the Hon. Professor Brian Howe AO (Chair), Centre for Public Policy, School of Social and Political Sciences, University of Melbourne
  • Muriel Bamblett AM, Chief Executive Officer, Victorian Aboriginal Child Care Agency
  • Liza Carroll, Deputy Secretary, FaHCSIA
  • Professor Bruce Chapman AM, Professor, Public Policy, Crawford School of Economics and Government, ANU
  • Professor John Dewar, Provost, University of Melbourne
  • Dr Marie Leech, Principal, Sancta Sophia College, University of Sydney
  • Ben Rimmer, Deputy Secretary, PM&C, Nominee of the Secretary (until May 2011)
  • Paul Ronalds, First Assistant Secretary, Office of Work and Family, Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet, Nominee of the Secretary (from June 2011)
  • Professor Paul Smyth, General Manager for Social Action and Research, Brotherhood of St Laurence
Risk Assessment and Audit Committee

The Risk Assessment and Audit Committee reports to the Director, and plays a key role in the Institute's corporate governance. It helps ensure effective and efficient use of resources by reviewing the performance and operations of internal controls and performance management systems. It approves the Institute's internal audit program and advises the Executive on risk, fraud, compliance and performance. It also provides assurance to the Director on preparing and reviewing financial statements.

The committee is chaired by an external member. Membership includes the two Deputy Directors and two independent members external to the Institute. The committee met four times during 2010-11, addressing a range of issues, including approval of budgets, Portfolio Budget Statements, mid-year budget reviews, internal and external audit processes, fraud control, FMA Act compliance reviews, and updates of the Institute's Director's Instructions and Financial Rules.

Risk Assessment and Audit Committee members, 2010-11
  • Denise Swift, PSM (Chair)
  • Dennis Mihelyi (Member), Director, Corporate Services, Fair Work Australia
  • Sue Tait (Member), Deputy Director (Corporate and Strategy), AIFS
  • Dr Matthew Gray (Member), Deputy Director (Research), AIFS (to December 2010)
  • Dr Daryl Higgins (Member), Deputy Director (Research), AIFS (from February 2011)
  • Professor Alan Hayes (Observer), Director, AIFS
  • Susan Leong (Observer), Chief Finance Officer, AIFS
Human Research Ethics Committee

The role of the Institute's Human Research Ethics Committee is to ensure that the ethical standards outlined in the National Statement on Ethical Conduct in Research Involving Humans, and elaborated in the Institute's ethics statement, Ethical Issues in the Research Process (1996), are met in all research projects undertaken by the Institute.

In particular, the committee must ensure that projects meet the three key principles of: respect for persons, beneficence, and justice, as set down in the National Statement. The committee is registered with the Australian Health Ethics Committee, a sub-committee of the National Health and Medical Research Council.

The Ethics Committee meets at least twice a year to consider new project proposals, receive brief oral and written reports on ongoing projects, consider any complaints or problems that may have arisen regarding ethical issues in Institute research, and review the complaints procedures, as required. The committee also has an expedited review process in place for projects that need approval between meetings of the committee.

Members of the Ethics Committee are appointed for three-year terms.

Human Research Ethics Committee members, 2010-11
  • Dr Duncan Ironmonger (Chair), BCom, MCom (Melb); PhD (Cambridge); Department of Economics, University of Melbourne
  • Dr Trevor Batrouney, BA, BEd (Melb); MEd, PhD (Monash); Adjunct Professor, RMIT University
  • Sr Dr Carol Hogan, BA (Melb); BTheol, PhD (Melbourne College of Divinity)
  • Professor Richard Ingleby, MA, DPhil (Oxford); LLM (Cambridge); Latham Chambers, Faculty of Business and Law, Deakin University
  • Helen Glezer, BA (Hons) (Melb); MA (La Trobe)
  • Rosalie Pattenden, BSc (Hons Psych) (Monash); Accredited Marriage Counsellor, Relationships Australia (Victoria); LACST; Centacare Melbourne (until May 2011)
  • Dr Kerreen Reiger, BA (Hons) (Melb); PhD (La Trobe); Department of Sociology, La Trobe University
  • Dr Sarah Wise, BA (Hons) (Melb), MA, PhD (Melb); Anglicare Victoria

Corporate and statutory reporting

During 2010-11, the Institute has continued to refine and strengthen its planning processes, building on earlier initiatives - including the reporting calendar, contracts register and improved records management processes - to incorporate an overarching Corporate Plan during 2010-11. Along with the implementation of the Performance Development and Review process, this brings together a range of corporate and communications priorities, and has contributed to increased compliance standards and greater awareness of reporting performance against outcomes.

In February 2011, the Institute continued its commitment to records management improvement and compliance with the official signing of the revised AIFS Records Authority by Ross Gibbs, Director-General of the National Archives of Australia and the AIFS Director.

An outcomes focus has been emphasised through the continued use of trend forecasting for the Parliamentary Budget Statements for 2011-12, which is aligned to the goals in the Institute's Strategic Plan 2009-12. The Institute continued to strengthen these processes throughout 2010-11, including successfully streamlining reporting processes to link preparations for Senate Estimates, annual reporting and the PBS.

All statutory reports were completed and tabled in a timely manner as required.

Director's Instructions and Financial Rules

The Director's Instructions and the Institute's Financial Rules are reviewed on a regular basis and represent an ongoing commitment to the process of improvement and alignment of the Institute's documentation to ensure effective operation and compliance with the requirements of the FMA Act under which it operates. Both the Director's Instructions and Financial Rules were comprehensively reviewed and updated in 2010-11, consistent with changes to the FMA Regulations.

Risk management

Internal audit

In 2010-11, the Institute undertook an open tender process to establish an outsourced internal audit program. PKF Chartered Accountants were engaged to develop a Strategic Internal Audit Program for the following three years. As part of this, a risk assessment of the Institute was undertaken to identify the strategic business and fraud risks it faces. During the reporting period, internal audits addressing identified risks were undertaken and the reports tabled with the RAAC. The reports covered:

  • fraud risk assessment; and
  • a Certificate of Compliance review.

A risk assessment workshop was conducted in June 2011 to develop a Strategic Risk Policy and Framework and an associated internal audit program for the next three years.

Business continuity

The Institute's Business Continuity Plan provides the necessary guidelines to enable the Institute to:

  • take action to prevent potential disruption to the business;
  • take appropriate action to safeguard staff and property in the event of a crisis;
  • plan and effectively manage the recovery of operations of the business to a satisfactory level;
  • plan and manage the resumption of normal business operations in permanent premises with its usual systems and staff; and
  • plan and manage significant staff reductions in the event of a possible pandemic illness or other threat to business continuity that may be of a protracted nature.

The Business Continuity Plan was revised in 2010-11 to reflect staff changes and the implementation of a human resource management information system and new payroll services arrangements. The revised plan was endorsed by the RAAC and approved by the Director in May 2011.

Protective security framework

The Institute is transitioning to the new Australian Government Protective Security Framework, in accordance with guidelines published by the Attorney-General's Department.

There were no major security incidents during the reporting period.

Ethical standards

Australian Public Service values in the Institute

The Australian Public Service (APS) values are actively promoted and upheld throughout the Institute. The importance of the APS values is incorporated into the everyday management and operations of the Institute. For example, the obligations of employees to uphold the APS values and abide by the APS Code of Conduct are promoted in induction processes and training courses; applied to personnel management processes; upheld by guidelines and procedures, which themselves take account of the APS values; and reflected throughout Institute human resources documents, which are available to employees through the Institute intranet.

External scrutiny

The Institute is subject to an annual statutory audit performed by the Australian National Audit Office. In addition, regular internal audit reviews are undertaken by an independent contractor. The outcomes of all audits are presented to the Risk Assessment and Audit Committee and plans developed for the implementation of recommendations and the ongoing monitoring of resultant actions for improved processes.

The Institute does not have statutory administrative decision-making powers and was not subject to any judicial decisions or decisions of administrative tribunals in 2010-11.

Management of human resources

The Institute is fortunate to have employees with a great diversity of skills, knowledge and experience. This ranges across research knowledge in multiple disciplines - including social science, psychology, family law, child and adolescent development, demography, economics and statistics, and survey design - to management skills such as commercial contract negotiation, project management, financial management, information technology development and maintenance, communications expertise and secretariat support. Some employees have more than 20 years of experience in the workplace, while others have only recently commenced their careers. This diversity of knowledge and expertise exemplifies one of the major benefits of working in a small organisation. These skills are known and are able to be effectively used in a number of facets of the Institute's operations.

The Institute is proud of its ability to attract, develop and retain highly skilled employees to continually strengthen its human and intellectual capital. Figures 4.1 and 4.2 show the highest qualifications gained by Institute employees overall and by those employed in the Research area.

Figure 4.1 Employee qualifications as at 30 June 2011

Figure 4.2 Research employee qualifications as at 30 June 2011

Workplace Relations Committee

The Workplace Relations Committee provides a forum for management and employees to discuss matters affecting the workplace in general, as well as issues relating to the Certified Agreement. The committee comprises three representatives each from management and employees, and a Community and Public Sector Union representative. Employees are encouraged to contribute their ideas or raise any concerns regarding their workplace with their representatives. The committee is chaired by the Executive Manager (Human Resources) and meets quarterly.

Input from the Workplace Relations Committee continues to play a key role in the review of Institute human resources policies and guidelines. In 2010-11, the committee provided input into the Institute's new Workplace Diversity Program, amended travel guidelines, and developed terms of reference to support the effective operation of the committee.

Health and Safety Committee

The establishment of a Health and Safety Committee is a requirement under the Occupational Health and Safety Act 1991. Under the Institute's Health and Safety Management Arrangement, the committee meets four times per year and facilitates discussion between management and employees regarding occupational health and safety matters in the workplace. The arrangement sets out the framework for the operation of the committee and occupational health and safety practices at the Institute.

Employees are encouraged to participate by consulting with their elected staff representatives, who use the committee forum to raise and manage ongoing health and safety matters.

Individual performance management

The principles underpinning the Institute's performance management program focus on ongoing communication and feedback between all parties in relation to individual performance. The program also aims to build relationships based on mutual trust and respect that encourage open and frank discussions and to maximise employee performance through the provision of individual development, opportunities for growth and work satisfaction. Assistance is available to employees and managers to support the development of individual Performance Development and Review plans.

Workforce planning

In 2010-11, the Institute began to develop its capacity to plan and respond to changing workforce needs. Current data indicate a staff turnover rate of approximately 12%. Addressing turnover and other workforce issues, including increasing the diversity of the workforce, will continue to be an area of focus in 2011-12.

Recruitment

The majority of vacancies at the Institute are advertised via the weekly online APSjobs service, supplemented by press or online advertising when appropriate. The Institute reduced press advertising and undertook more online advertising in 2010-11 to target particular markets and reduce advertising costs. The Institute continues to attract high-quality applicants for its advertised vacancies.

There is ongoing pressure to recruit appropriately skilled and experienced employees. In line with workforce planning processes, the Institute will continue to develop and introduce strategies throughout 2011-12 to recruit and retain capable staff.

Learning and development

The objective of learning and development activities is to ensure that the Institute has the organisational capability to respond to research challenges both now and in the future.

During the year, the Institute continued to develop its workforce capability by providing professional learning and development. Individuals took part in a range of management, leadership and specialist programs in 2010-11. The effectiveness of the training provided was evaluated in the performance reviews conducted between managers and individuals.

During 2010-11, the Institute invested $57,965 in direct learning and development activities, $78,800 in conference attendance, and the equivalent of $53,868 in wages based on average salary. The calculation methodology for determining wages costs associated with learning and development activities has been amended for the 2010-11 financial year, due to the availability of improved employee data following the implementation of outsourced payroll services.

The Institute continues to provide professional development opportunities for employees via professional memberships and support for formal study through its Study Assistance Program.

Occupational health and safety performance

On an annual basis, the Institute runs a free flu vaccination program for all staff. Each employee is also able to receive reimbursement of $150 for participating in appropriate health promotion activities under the Promoting Good Health scheme. The scheme aims to encourage staff to improve their fitness and general health. Further, employees have access to subsidised eyesight testing (including the provision of glasses), professional counselling and manager support via the Employee Assistance Program, and regular workstation assessments that immediately implement corrective measures if required, such as personally designed ergonomic equipment. The Institute will continue to review its health and wellbeing strategies during 2011-12.

There were no notifiable accidents or investigations reported during 2010-11.

Productivity gains

The Institute has continued to evaluate its functions, structure and procedures with a view to streamlining administrative processes and systems to realise additional productivity savings. During 2010-11, employees have continued to support the Institute in the rationalisation of accommodation space and introduction of environmental management initiatives.

Work continues on information management and technology improvements and efficiencies to create further productivity gains. Implementation of a human resource management information system and new payroll services arrangements in 2010-11 have provided automation of approval processes, improved data management and an increased ability to report on staffing trends. Revised Human Resources Delegations implemented in 2010-11 have also allowed streamlined approval processes. The development of annual workplans linked to employees' Performance Development and Review plans and relevant Institute plans provides clarity to individuals on expected outcomes. Further, the Institute and its employees will continue to increase productivity savings through a reduction in travel costs and improved management and reporting of unscheduled absences in 2011-12.

Statistics on staffing

As at 30 June 2011, there were 74 staff - 17 males and 57 females - employed at the Institute under the Public Service Act 1999. Tables 4.1 and 4.2 present profiles of Institute staff by gender and type of employment for the past two financial years. As Table 4.1 indicates, the Institute has 65% of staff in ongoing positions and 35% of staff in non-ongoing positions. Table 4.3 describes staff by classification level, gender and type of employment as at 30 June 2011.

Table 4.1. Staffing overview: Actual ongoing and non-ongoing full-time and part-time staff, by gender, at 30 June 2011
  Ongoing Non-ongoing Total
Full-time Part-time Full-time Part-time
Male 8 1 5 3 17
Female 27 12 9 9 57
Total 35 13 14 12 74
% of all staff 47 18 19 16 100

Note: Excludes employees engaged to provide services to the Institute on an irregular/intermittent (casual) basis.

Table 4.2. Staffing overview: Actual ongoing and non-ongoing full-time and part-time staff, by gender, at 30 June 2010
  Ongoing Non-ongoing Total
Full-time Part-time Full-time Part-time
Male 7 1 7 2 17
Female 26 10 12 6 54
Total 33 11 19 8 71
% of all staff 46 16 27 11 100

Note: Excludes employees engaged to provide services to the Institute on an irregular/intermittent (casual) basis.

Table 4.3. Staffing overview: Actual ongoing and non-ongoing staff, by classification level and gender, at 30 June 2011
Classification AIFS Classification Ongoing Non-ongoing Total % of all staff
Male Female Male Female
Senior Executive Service (SES) Band 1 SES Band 1 1 0 0 1 2 3
Executive Level (EL) 2 AIFS Band 5 3 10 1 0 14 19
EL 1 AIFS Band 4 2 8 0 4 14 19
APS 6 AIFS Band 3 3 14 2 2 21 28
APS 5 AIFS Band 3 0 2 1 4 7 9
APS 4 AIFS Band 2 0 4 1 2 7 9
APS 3 AIFS Band 2 0 0 2 5 7 9
APS 2 AIFS Band 1 0 1 1 0 2 3
APS 1 AIFS Band 1 0 0 0 0 0 0
Total   9 39 8 18 74 100
% of all staff   12 53 11 24 100  

Note: Twelve employees on higher duties were counted at the higher duties level. Excludes employees engaged to provide services to the Institute on an irregular/intermittent (casual) basis. Percentages may not total exactly 100% due to rounding.

Individual and Collective Agreements

The Institute's 2006-08 Certified Agreement was extended and varied by the Australian Industrial Relations Commission on 3 March 2009 under the Workplace Relations Act 1996, prior to the introduction of the Fair Work Act 2009. The agreement runs until March 2012 and provides for:

  • four pay increases, totalling 16% across three years;
  • a range of allowances;
  • additional leave provisions for maternity and adoptive leave;
  • paid parental leave for non-primary care givers;
  • changes to the Performance Development and Review Program;
  • a standard working day of 7 hours 30 minutes (increased from 7 hours 21 minutes).

The process of bargaining a new enterprise agreement under the Fair Work Act 2009 will occur in 2011-12.

A small number of senior (Executive Level 2) employees who previously held Australian Workplace Agreements are covered by Determinations made under Section 24(1) of the Public Service Act 1999 to supplement the conditions provided by the Institute's Certified Agreement. The Institute's SES employees are covered by comprehensive s24(1) Determinations.

Details of the number of staff covered by a Certified Agreement or an s24(1) Determination at 30 June 2011 are shown in Table 4.4. Non-salary benefits received by staff are shown in Table 4.5.

Table 4.4. Number of staff covered by different employment agreements, at 30 June 2011
Type of agreement No. of staff
Certified Agreement* 72
s24(1) Determination 5

Note: * Five Executive Level 2 employees covered by the Certified Agreement have been provided with s24(1) Determinations to supplement the provisions of the Certified Agreement. Number of staff excludes two SES employees not covered by the Certified Agreement and seven employees engaged to provide services to the Institute on an irregular/intermittent (casual) basis.

Table 4.5. Non-salary benefits by employment category and classification level
Type of agreement Non-salary benefits
Certified Agreement Access to Employee Assistance Program; study assistance; flexible remuneration packaging; purchased leave; paid non-primary caregiver parental leave; special leave; home-based work; flextime; airline lounge membership, if travelling frequently; good health allowance; volunteer allowances
Non-SES staff: s24(1) Determination Airline lounge membership; mobile phone; computer and remote access to network; incidental child care; financial and other support for professional and personal development; flexible remuneration packaging
SES staff: s24(1) Determination Motor vehicle, fuel and parking; airline lounge membership; mobile phone; home office equipment and remote access to network; financial and other support for professional and personal development; flexible remuneration packaging

Salary ranges

Table 4.6. Staffing overview: Salary ranges by classification, at 30 June 2011
AIFS classification Salary range
SES Band 1 $148,000-172,000
AIFS Band 5 $100,552-119,813
AIFS Band 4 $87,181-96,276
AIFS Band 3 $63,381-78,118
AIFS Band 2 $50,652-61,295
AIFS Band 1 $39,297-49,316

Performance pay

Eligible Executive Level 2 employees on s24(1) Determinations may qualify for a performance bonus of up to 15% if they achieve a performance rating of fully effective or above. In the 2010 performance cycle, SES employees were eligible for a performance bonus of up to 15% if they achieved a performance rating of fully effective or above. From 1 January 2011, eligibility for performance bonuses was removed for SES employees and the SES salary range increased. Table 4.7 outlines performance payment information for the 2010 performance cycle.

Table 4.7. Performance pay for 2010 performance cycle
Level Number Aggregated amount Average Minimum Maximum
SES 1 & EL 2 7 $101,767 $14,538 $4,586 $23,940

Assets management

The Institute maintains a detailed assets register. Assets management is not a significant aspect of the strategic business of the Institute.

Purchasing

All purchasing is carried out in line with the requirements of the Commonwealth Procurement Guidelines as detailed in the Institute's Director's Instructions and Financial Rules. These provide details, principles, processes and procedures in line with the Commonwealth Procurement Guidelines. A full range of templates for all aspects of purchasing and approval has been developed. Staff have undertaken training to support compliance with procurement requirements, including inhouse FMA procurement refresher programs for managers in April 2011.

All procurements in excess of $10,000 are regularly recorded in AusTender, and contracts in excess of $100,000 are included in Senate Order 192 reporting. The Institute has accessed whole-of-government purchasing arrangements in a range of areas, including ICT and travel.

Australian National Audit Office Access Clauses

The Institute's contract templates contain standard clauses to provide for the Auditor-General to have access to the contractor's premises. All contracts let during the reporting period contained these standard clauses.

Exempt contracts

The Institute has not entered into any contracts or standing offers that have been exempted from being published in AusTender.

Consultants

The Institute's core business to conduct research and communicate findings often requires the use of consultant expertise. Consultants are generally engaged when particular specialist expertise is necessary, sufficiently skilled expertise is not immediately available inhouse, or independent advice on an issue is required.

The services provided by new and continuing consultants in the reporting period included provision of research reports, review and audit of financial activities, and human resources and business process analysis.

Processes for the engagement of consultants are consistent with the Commonwealth Procurement Guidelines and are detailed in the Institute's Director's Instructions and Financial Rules. As with all procurement, the priority in the engagement of consultants is to obtain value for money. Competitive processes are used for the selection of consultants, and the Director's Instructions contain guidelines for the approval of expenditure.

Consultancies let to the value of $10,000 or more during 2010-11 are listed in Table 4.8.

During 2010-11, 13 new consultancy contracts were entered into (including those to the value of less than $10,000), involving total actual expenditure of $132,558 (inc. GST). In addition, four ongoing consultancy contracts were active during the year, involving total actual expenditure of $88,749 (inc. GST). Expenditure for the year totalled $221,307 (inc. GST).

Information on the value of contracts and consultancies is available on the AusTender website: <www.tenders.gov.au>. Contracts above the value of $100,000 are detailed on the AIFS website: <www.aifs.gov.au>.

Table 4.8. New consultancies let to the value of $10,000 or more, 2010-11
Consultant name Description Contract price1 Selection process2 Justification3
Adelaide Research and Innovation Pty Ltd Advisory services for Stage 1 of the NSW Out-of-home Care study $12,375 Direct Source B
The University of New South Wales, Social Policy Research Centre Advisory services for Stage 1 of the NSW Out-of-home Care study $38,500 Direct Source B
Professor Judy Cashmore Advisory services for Stage 1 of the NSW Out-of-home Care study $10,125 Direct Source B
PKF Chartered Accountants & Business Advisers RFQ 10/04: Internal Audit Services for period 1 Mar 2011 to 28 Feb 2014 $180,000 Open Tender  
University of New South Wales, Social Policy Research Centre Research services in relation to the Protecting Australia's Children Research Audit $11,093 Direct Source B
Cut-Through Communications Pty Ltd AIFS RFT 11/01: Media Relations Services for period 1 May 2011 to 30 Apr 2013 $264,000 Open Tender  
Adelaide Research and Innovation Pty Ltd Advisory services for Stage 1 of the NSW Out-of-home Care study $87,688 Direct Source B
Professor Judy Cashmore Advisory services for Stage 1 of the NSW Out-of-home Care study $79,716 Direct Source B
University of New South Wales, Social Policy Research Centre Advisory services for Stage 1 of the NSW Out-of-home Care study $234,744 Direct Source B

Notes:

1 Price is inclusive of GST.

2 Explanation of selection process terms drawn from the Commonwealth Procurement Guidelines (December 2008):

Open tender: A procurement procedure in which a request for tender is published inviting all businesses that satisfy the conditions for participation to submit tenders. Public tenders are generally sought from the Australian Government AusTender Internet site.

Select tender: A procurement procedure in which the procuring agency selects which potential suppliers are invited to submit tenders. This procurement may only be used under certain defined circumstances.

Direct source: A form of restricted tendering, available only under certain defined circumstances, with a single potential supplier or suppliers being invited to bid because of their unique expertise and/or their special ability to supply the goods and/or services sought.

Panel: An arrangement under which a number of suppliers, initially selected through an open tender process, may each supply property or services to an agency as specified in the panel arrangements. Quotes are sought from suppliers that have pre-qualified on the agency panels to supply the government. This category includes standing offers and supplier panels where the supplier of goods and services may be provided for a pre-determined length of time, usually at a pre-arranged price.

3 Justification for decision to use consultancy:

A. Skills currently unavailable within agency.

B. Need for specialised or professional skills.

C. Need for independent research or assessment.

5. Financial statements

Independent Auditor's Report

To the Parliamentary Secretary of the Prime Minister

I have audited the accompanying financial statements of the Australian Institute of Family Studies (the Institute) for the year ended 30 June 2011, which comprise: a Statement by the Directors and Chief Finance Officer; Statement of Comprehensive Income; Balance Sheet; Statement of Changes in Equity; Cash Flow Statement; Schedule of Commitments; Schedule of Asset Additions; and Notes to and forming part of the Financial Statements, including a Summary of Significant Accounting Policies.

Director's Responsibility for the Financial Statements

The Director is responsible for the preparation of financial statements that give a true and fair view in accordance with the Finance Minister's Orders made under the Financial Management and Accountability Act 1997, including the Australian Accounting Standards, and for such internal control as the Director determines is necessary to enable the preparation of the financial statements that are free from material misstatement, whether due to fraud or error.

Auditor's Responsibility

My responsibility is to express an opinion on the financial statements based on my audit. I have conducted my audit in accordance with the Australian National Audit Office Auditing Standards, which incorporate the Australian Auditing Standards. These auditing standards require that I comply with relevant ethical requirements relating to audit engagements and plan and perform the audit to obtain reasonable assurance about whether the financial statements are free from material misstatement.

An audit involves performing procedures to obtain audit evidence about the amounts and disclosures in the financial statements. The procedures selected depend on the auditor's judgement, including the assessment of the risks of material misstatement of the financial statements, whether due to fraud or error. In making those risk assessments, the auditor considers internal control relevant to the Institute's preparation of the financial statements that give a true and fair view in order to design audit procedures that are appropriate in the circumstances, but not for the purpose of expressing an opinion on the effectiveness of the Institute's internal control. An audit also includes evaluating the appropriateness of the accounting policies used and the reasonableness of accounting estimates made by the Director of the Institute, as well as evaluating the overall presentation of the financial statements.

I believe that the audit evidence I have obtained is sufficient and appropriate to provide a basis for my audit opinion.

Independence

In conducting my audit, I have followed the independence requirements of the Australian National Audit Office, which incorporate the requirements of the Australian accounting profession.

Opinion

In my opinion, the financial statements of the Australian Institute of Family Studies:

  1. have been prepared in accordance with the Finance Minister's Orders made under the Financial Management and Accountability Act 1997, including the Australian Accounting Standards; and
  2. give a true and fair view of the matters required by the Finance Minister's Orders including the Australian Institute of Family Studies' financial position as at 30 June 2011 and of its financial performance and cash flows for the year then ended.

Australian National Audit Office

Ron Wah
Audit Principal
Delegate of the Auditor-General
Canberra
26 August 2011

GPO Box 707 CANBERRA ACT 2601
19 National Circuit BARTON ACT 2600
Phone (02) 6203 7300 Fax (02) 6203 7777

Statement by the Directors and Chief Finance Officer

for the period ended 30 June 2011

In our opinion, the attached financial statements for the year ended 30 June 2011 are based on properly maintained financial records and give a true and fair view of the matters required by the Finance Minister's Orders made under the Financial Management and Accountability Act 1997, as amended.

Alan Hayes, Director, 26 August 2011

Sue Tait, Deputy Director Corporate and Strategy, 26 August 2011

Susan Leong, Chief Finance Officer, 26 August 2011

STATEMENT OF COMPREHENSIVE INCOME for the period ended 30 June 2011
  Notes 2011
$
2010
$
EXPENSES
Employee benefits 3A 6,674,420 6,849,383
Suppliers 3B 2,459,984 2,933,795
Depreciation and amortisation 3C 296,686 296,403
Write-down and impairment of assets 3D - 84,455
Losses from asset sales 3E 1,173 1,704
Total expenses   9,432,263 10,165,740
LESS:
OWN-SOURCE INCOME
Own-source revenue
Sale of goods and rendering of services 4A 5,454,391 6,137,021
Royalties 4B 40,019 76,350
Other 4C 101,737 81,681
Total own-source revenue   5,596,147 6,295,052
Gains
Other 4D 22,500 22,650
Total gains   22,500 22,650
Total own-source income   5,618,647 6,317,702
Net cost of services   3,813,616 3,848,038
Revenue from Government 4E 3,518,000 3,850,000
Surplus (deficit)   (295,616) 1,962
Total comprehensive income (loss)   (295,616) 1,962

The above statement should be read in conjunction with the accompanying notes.

BALANCE SHEET as at 30 June 2011
  Notes 2011
$
2011
$
ASSETS
Financial assets
Cash and cash equivalents 5A 385,360 70,500
Trade and other receivables 5B 4,549,504 3,862,408
Total financial assets   4,934,864 3,932,908
Non-financial assets
Buildings - leasehold improvements 6A,C 358,422 416,200
Plant and equipment 6B,C 949,463 1,076,605
Intangibles 6D,E 3,739 16,992
Other 6F 93,963 186,087
Total non-financial assets   1,405,587 1,695,884
Total assets   6,340,451 5,628,792
LIABILITIES
Payables
Suppliers 7A 241,906 155,136
Other 7B 2,791,954 2,267,470
Total payables   3,033,860 2,422,606
Provisions
Employee provisions 8A 1,577,684 1,411,663
Total provisions   1,577,684 1,411,663
Total liabilities   4,611,544 3,834,269
Net assets   1,728,907 1,794,523
EQUITY
Contributed equity   1,639,295 1,409,295
Retained earnings   89,612 385,228
Total equity   1,728,907 1,794,523

The above statement should be read in conjunction with the accompanying notes.

STATEMENT OF CHANGES IN EQUITY for the period ended 30 June 2011
  Retained earnings Contributed equity Total equity
  2011
$
2010
$
2011
$
2010
$
2011
$
2010
$
Opening balance
Balance carried forward from previous period 385,228 383,266 1,409,295 1,409,295 1,794,523 1,792,561
Comprehensive income
Surplus (deficit) for the period (295,616) 1,962 - - (295,616) 1,962
Total comprehensive income (295,616) 1,962 - - (295,616) 1,962
Transactions with owners
Contribution by owners
Equity injection - Appropriation - - 230,000 - 230,000 -
Sub-total transactions with owners - - 230,000 - 230,000 -
Closing balance at 30 June 89,612 385,228 1,639,295 1,409,295 1,728,907 1,794,523

The above statement should be read in conjunction with the accompanying notes.

CASH FLOW STATEMENT for the period ended 30 June 2011
  Notes 2011
$
2010
$
OPERATING ACTIVITIES
Cash received
Appropriations   9,600,000 10,480,000
Sale of goods and rendering of services   6,902,151 6,009,096
Other   95,746 81,681
Total cash received   16,597,897 16,570,777
Cash used      
Employees   (6,516,200) (6,753,913)
Suppliers   (2,680,225) (3,654,552)
Section 31 receipts transferred to OPA   (6,744,440) (6,057,951)
Net GST paid   (342,172) (71,087)
Total cash used   (16,283,037) (16,537,503)
Net cash from operating activities 9 314,860 33,274
INVESTING ACTIVITIES
Cash used
Purchase of leasehold improvements, plant and equipment   (99,686) (132,301)
Other   - (383)
Total cash used   (99,686) (132,684)
Net cash (used by) investing activities   (99,686) (132,684)
FINANCING ACTIVITIES
Cash received
Contributed equity   99,686 -
Total cash received   99,686 -
Net cash from financing activities   99,686 -
Net increase/(decrease) in cash held   314,860 (99,410)
Cash and cash equivalents at the beginning of the reporting period   70,500 169,910
Cash and cash equivalents at the end of the reporting period 5A 385,360 70,500

The above statement should be read in conjunction with the accompanying notes.

SCHEDULE OF COMMITMENTS as at 30 June 2011
  2011
$
2010
$
BY TYPE
Commitments receivable
Project commitments receivable 1 (19,977,787) (18,830,669)
Total commitments receivable (19,977,787) (18,830,669)
Commitments payable
Other commitments
Operating leases 2 4,439,838 5,127,821
Project commitments 900,880 42,152
Net GST payable on commitments 1,280,088 1,210,401
Other commitments 556,097 346,289
Total other commitments 7,176,903 6,726,663
Net commitments by type (12,800,884) (12,104,006)
BY MATURITY
Commitments receivable
Project commitments receivable
One year or less (4,541,183) (4,433,285)
From one to five years (10,452,754) (7,346,384)
Over five years (4,983,850) (7,051,000)
Total project commitments receivable (19,977,787) (18,830,669)
Commitments payable
Operating lease commitments
One year or less 744,440 722,660
From one to five years 3,141,248 3,036,569
Over five years 554,150 1,368,592
Total operating lease commitments 4,439,838 5,127,821
Project commitments payable
One year or less 300,824 42,152
From one to five years 600,056 -
Total project commitments payable 900,880 42,152
Net GST payable on commitments
One year or less 303,282 319,711
From one to five years 574,106 374,107
Over five years 402,700 516,583
Total net GST payable on commitments 1,280,088 1,210,401
Other commitments payable
One year or less 159,818 151,656
From one to five years 396,279 194,633
Total other commitments payable 556,097 346,289
Net commitments by maturity (12,800,884) (12,104,006)

NB: Commitments are GST-inclusive where relevant.

1 Project commitments receivable are based on known commitments for contracted research funds (i.e., amount specified in contract agreement).

2 Operating leases included effectively are non-cancellable and comprise:

  • Lease for office accommodation
    The Institute has entered into a 10-year tenancy agreement at 485 La Trobe Street, Melbourne, which runs to 28 February 2017. Lease payments are subject to an annual fixed percentage increase of 3.75%. The lease may be renewed for a further term of 5 years at the Institute's option, following a once-off adjustment of rental to market levels.
  • Agreements for the provision of motor vehicles to senior executive officers
    No contingent rental exists. There are no renewal or purchase options available to the Institute.

The above schedule should be read in conjunction with the accompanying notes.

SCHEDULE OF ASSET ADDITIONS for the period ended 30 June 2011
The following non-financial non-current assets were added in 2010-11:
  Leasehold Improvements
$
Plant & equipment
$
Intangibles
$
Total
$
Additions funded in the current year
By purchase - appropriation ordinary annual services
Equity injection 4,940 94,746 - 99,686
Total funded additions funded in current year 4,940 94,746 - 99,686

 

The following non-financial non-current assets were added in 2009-10:
  Leasehold Improvements
$
Plant & equipment
$
Intangibles
$
Total
$
Additions funded in the current year
By purchase - appropriation ordinary annual services
Ordinary operating costs 1,423 120,408 10,470 132,301
Total funded additions funded in current year 1,423 120,408 10,470 132,301

Note 1: Summary of significant accounting policies

1.1 Objectives of the Australian Institute of Family Studies

The Australian Institute of Family Studies ("the Institute") is an Australian Government controlled entity.

The Institute is structured to meet a single outcome, namely to increase understanding of factors affecting how families function by conducting research and communicating findings to policy-makers, service providers and the broader community.

The Institute's activities contributing toward this outcome are classified as departmental. Departmental activities involve the use of assets, liabilities, income and expenses controlled or incurred by the Institute in its own right.

The key objectives of the Institute are to:

  • conduct high-quality research relevant to policy and practice on a broad range of issues regarding families in Australia;
  • expand the national knowledge base of factors affecting families through collaborative partnerships;
  • increase the effectiveness of communications to foster greater understanding about factors that affect families; and
  • build organisational capacity to achieve research and communication objectives.

The continued existence of the Institute in its present form and with its present programs is dependent on Government policy and on continuing funding by Parliament and contract research revenue for the Institute's administration and programs.

1.2 Basis of preparation of the financial statements

The financial statements are general purpose financial statements and are required by Section 49 of the Financial Management and Accountability Act 1997.

The financial statements have been prepared in accordance with:

  1. Finance Minister's Orders (FMOs) for reporting periods ending on or after 1 July 2010; and
  2. Australian Accounting Standards and Interpretations issued by the Australian Accounting Standards Board (AASB) that apply for the reporting period.

The financial statements have been prepared on an accrual basis and in accordance with the historical cost convention, except for certain assets and liabilities at fair value. Except where stated, no allowance is made for the effect of changing prices on the results or the financial position.

The financial statements are presented in Australian dollars and values are rounded to the nearest dollar unless otherwise specified.

Unless an alternative treatment is specifically required by an accounting standard or the FMOs, assets and liabilities are recognised in the Balance Sheet when and only when it is probable that future economic benefits will flow to the Institute or a future sacrifice of economic benefits will be required and the amounts of the assets or liabilities can be reliably measured. However, assets and liabilities arising under executor contracts are not recognised unless required by an accounting standard. Liabilities and assets that are unrecognised are reported in the Schedule of Commitments.

Unless alternative treatment is specifically required by an accounting standard, income and expenses are recognised in the Statement of Comprehensive Income when and only when the flow, consumption or loss of economic benefits has occurred and can be reliably measured.

1.3 Significant accounting judgements and estimates

No accounting assumptions or estimates have been identified that have a significant risk of causing a material adjustment to the carrying amounts of assets and liabilities within the next reporting period.

1.4 New Australian Accounting Standards
Adoption of New Australian Accounting Standard Requirements

No accounting standard has been adopted earlier than the application date as stated in the standard.

Of the new standards, amendments to standards and interpretations issued prior to the signoff date and are applicable to the current reporting period, none have had a financial impact, and are not expected to have a future financial impact on the Institute.

Future Australian Accounting Standard Requirements

Of the new standards, amendments to standards and interpretations that were issued by the Australian Accounting Standards Board prior to the signoff date and are applicable to future reporting periods, none are expected to have a future financial impact on the Institute.

1.5 Revenue

Revenue from the sale of goods is recognised when:

  1. the risks and rewards of ownership have been transferred to the buyer;
  2. the Institute retains no managerial involvement nor effective control over the goods;
  3. the revenue and transaction costs incurred can be reliably measured; and
  4. it is probable that the economic benefits associated with the transaction will flow to the Institute.

The Institute receives contract revenue by conducting high-quality research relevant to policy and practice on a broad range of issues regarding families in Australia for various stakeholders. The key stakeholders comprise mainly other Commonwealth agencies, State Government agencies as well as non-government entities.

Revenue from rendering of contract services is recognised by reference to the stage of completion of contracts at the reporting date. The revenue is recognised when:

  1. the amount of revenue, stage of completion and transaction costs incurred can be reliably measured; and
  2. the probable economic benefits associated with the transaction will flow to the Institute.

The stage of completion of contracts at the reporting date is determined by reference to either:

  1. services performed to date as a percentage of total services to be performed; or
  2. the proportion that costs incurred to date bear to the estimated total costs of the transaction.

Copyright royalty revenue for the use of the Institute's publications and bibliographic databases is recognised on an accrual basis.

Cost recovery which relates mainly to Comcare receipts and sponsorships of travel expenses is recognised on an accrual basis.

Receivables for goods and services, which have 30-day terms, are recognised at the nominal amounts due less any impairment allowance account. Collectability of debts is reviewed at end of the reporting period. Allowances are made when collectability of the debt is no longer probable.

Revenue from Government

Amounts appropriated for departmental appropriations for the year (adjusted for any formal additions and reductions) are recognised as Revenue from Government when the Institute gains control of the appropriation, except for certain amounts that relate to activities that are reciprocal in nature, in which case revenue is recognised only when it has been earned. Appropriations receivable are recognised at their nominal amounts.

Parental Leave Payments Scheme

The Institute offsets amounts received under the Parental Leave Payments Scheme (for payment to employees) by amounts paid to employees under that scheme, because these transactions are only incidental to the main revenue-generating activities of the Institute. Amounts received by the Institute not yet paid to employees would be presented gross as cash and a liability (payable).

There were no employees utilising the Parent Leave Payments Scheme in this current reporting period.

1.6 Gains
Resources received free of charge

Resources received free of charge are recognised as gains when, and only when, a fair value can be reliably determined and the services would have been purchased if they had not been donated. Use of those resources is recognised as an expense.

Resources received free of charge are recorded as either revenue or gains depending on their nature.

Contributions of assets at no cost of acquisition or for nominal consideration are recognised as gains at their fair value when the asset qualifies for recognition, unless received from another Government entity as a consequence of a restructuring of administrative arrangements (Refer to Note 1.7). The Institute did not receive any contribution of assets in both 2010-11 and 2009-10.

Sale of assets

Gains from disposal of assets are recognised when control of the asset has passed to the buyer.

1.7 Transactions with the Government as owner
Equity injections

Amounts appropriated which are designated as "equity injections" for a year (less any formal reductions) and Departmental Capital Budgets (DCBs) are recognised directly in contributed equity.

Restructuring of administrative arrangements

Net assets received from or relinquished to another Government entity under a restructuring of administrative arrangements are adjusted at their book value directly against contributed equity. The Institute was not involved in any restructuring of administrative arrangements in both 2010-11 and 2009-10.

Other distributions to owners

The FMOs require that distributions to owners be debited to contributed equity unless in the nature of a dividend. There was no distribution to owners in both 2010-11 and 2009-10.

1.8 Employee benefits

Liabilities for "short-term employee benefits" (as defined in AASB 119 Employee Benefits) and termination benefits due within twelve months of the end of reporting period are measured at their nominal amounts.

The nominal amount is calculated with regard to the rates expected to be paid on settlement of the liability.

Other long-term employee benefits are measured as net total of the present value of the defined benefit obligation at the end of the reporting period minus the fair value at the end of the reporting period of plan assets (if any) out of which the obligations are to be settled directly.

Leave

The liability for employee benefits includes provision for annual leave and long service leave. No provision has been made for sick leave as all sick leave is non-vesting and the average sick leave taken in future years by employees of the Institute is estimated to be less than the annual entitlement for sick leave.

The leave liabilities are calculated on the basis of employees' remuneration at the estimated salary rates that will be applied at the time the leave is taken, including the Institute's employer superannuation contribution rates to the extent that the leave is likely to be taken during service rather than paid out on termination.

The liability for long service leave has been determined by use of the Department of Finance and Deregulation's shorthand method using the Standard Commonwealth sector probability profile. The estimate of the present value of the liability takes into account attrition rates and pay increases through promotion and inflation.

Separation and redundancy

No provision has been made for separation and redundancy benefit payments as the Institute has not formally identified any positions as excess to requirements at 30 June 2011 (2010: nil).

Superannuation

The majority of the staff of the Institute are members of the Commonwealth Superannuation Scheme (CSS), the Public Sector Superannuation Scheme (PSS) or the PSS accumulation plan (PSSap).

The CSS and PSS are defined benefit schemes for the Australian Government. The PSSap is a defined contribution scheme.

The liability for defined benefits is recognised in the financial statements of the Australian Government and is settled by the Australian Government in due course. This liability is reported by the Department of Finance and Deregulation as an administered item.

The Institute makes employer contributions to the employees' superannuation scheme at rates determined by an actuary to be sufficient to meet the current cost to the Government. The Institute accounts for the contributions as if they were contributions to defined contribution plans.

The liability for superannuation recognised as at 30 June represents outstanding contributions for the final fortnight of the year.

1.9 Leases

A distinction is made between finance leases and operating leases. Finance leases effectively transfer from the lessor to the lessee substantially all the risks and rewards incidental to ownership of leased assets. An operating lease is a lease that is not a finance lease. In operating leases, the lessor effectively retains substantially all such risks and benefits.

Operating lease payments are expensed on a straight-line basis which is representative of the pattern of benefits derived from the leased assets.

The Institute has no finance leases.

1.10 Cash

Cash is recognised at its nominal amount. Cash and cash equivalents includes:

  1. cash on hand; and
  2. demand deposits in bank accounts with an original maturity of 3 months or less that are readily convertible to known amounts of cash and subject to insignificant risk of changes in value.
1.11 Financial assets

The Institute classifies its financial assets as loans and receivables.

Financial assets are recognised and derecognised upon "trade date".

Effective interest method

The effective interest method is a method of calculating the amortised cost of a financial asset and of allocating interest income over the relevant period. The effective interest rate is the rate that exactly discounts estimated future cash receipts through the expected life of the financial asset, or, where appropriate, a shorter period.

Income is recognised on an effective interest rate basis.

Loans and receivables

Trade receivables, loans and other receivables that have fixed or determinable payments that are not quoted in an active market are classified as ‘loans and receivables’. Loans and receivables are measured at amortised cost using the effective interest method less impairment. Interest is recognised by applying the effective interest rate.

Impairment of financial assets

Financial assets are assessed for impairment at end of each reporting period.

Financial assets held at amortised cost - if there is objective evidence that an impairment loss has been incurred for loans and receivables held at amortised cost, the amount of the loss is measured as the difference between the asset's carrying amount and the present value of estimated future cash flows discounted at the asset's original effective interest rate. The carrying amount is reduced by way of an allowance account. The loss is recognised in the Statement of Comprehensive Income.

1.12 Financial liabilities

The Institute classifies its financial liabilities as ‘other financial liabilities’. This comprises suppliers and other payables that are recognised at amortised cost. Liabilities are recognised to the extent that the goods or services have been received (and irrespective of having been invoiced).

Financial liabilities are recognised and derecognised upon "trade date".

1.13 Contingent liabilities and contingent assets

Contingent liabilities and contingent assets are not recognised in the Balance Sheet but are reported in the relevant schedules and notes. They may arise from uncertainty as to the existence of a liability or asset or represent an asset or liability in respect of which the amount cannot be reliably measured. Contingent assets are disclosed when settlement is probable but not virtually certain and contingent liabilities are disclosed when settlement is greater than remote.

To the best of the Institute's knowledge, it was not exposed to any unrecognised contingencies that would have a material effect on the financial statements for both 2010-11 and 2009-10.

1.14 Acquisition of assets

Assets are recorded at cost on acquisition except as stated below. The cost of acquisition includes the fair value of assets transferred in exchange and liabilities undertaken. Financial assets are initially measured at their fair value plus transaction costs where appropriate.

Assets acquired at no cost, or for nominal consideration, are initially recognised as assets and income at their fair value at the date of acquisition, unless acquired as a consequence of restructuring of administrative arrangements. In the latter case, assets are initially recognised as contributions by owners at the amounts at which they were recognised in the transferor's accounts immediately prior to the restructuring.

1.15 Leasehold improvements, plant and equipment
Asset recognition threshold

Purchases of leasehold improvements, plant and equipment are recognised initially at cost in the Balance Sheet, except for purchases costing less than $1,000, which are expensed in the year of acquisition (other than where they form part of a group of similar items which are significant in total).

The initial cost of an asset includes an estimate of the cost of dismantling and removing the item and restoring the site on which it is located.

Revaluations

Fair values for each class of asset are determined as shown below:

Asset class Fair value measured at
Leasehold improvements Depreciated replacement cost
Plant and equipment Market selling price

Following initial recognition at cost, leasehold improvements, plant and equipment were carried at fair value less subsequent accumulated depreciation and accumulated impairment losses. Valuations were conducted with sufficient frequency to ensure that the carrying amounts of assets do not differ materially from the assets' fair values as at the reporting date. The regularity of independent valuations depends upon the volatility of movements in market values for the relevant assets.

Revaluation adjustments are made on a class basis. Any revaluation increment is credited to equity under the heading of asset revaluation reserve except to the extent that it reverses a previous revaluation decrement of the same asset class that was previously recognised in the surplus/deficit. Revaluation decrements for a class of assets are recognised directly in the surplus/deficit except to the extent that they reverse a previous revaluation increment for that class.

Any accumulated depreciation as at the revaluation date is eliminated against the gross carrying amount of the asset and the asset restated to the revalued amount.

Depreciation

Depreciable leasehold improvements, plant and equipment assets are written off to their estimated residual values over their estimated useful lives to the Institute using, in all cases, the straight-line method of depreciation.

Depreciation rates (useful lives), residual values and methods are reviewed at each reporting date and necessary adjustments are recognised in the current, or current and future reporting periods, as appropriate.

Depreciation rates applying to each class of depreciable asset are based on the following useful lives:

  2011 2010
Leasehold improvements Lease term Lease term
Plant and equipment 3 to 15 years 3 to 15 years
Impairment

All assets were assessed for impairment at 30 June 2011. Where indications of impairment exist, the asset's recoverable amount is estimated and an impairment adjustment made if the asset's recoverable amount is less than its carrying amount.

The recoverable amount of an asset is the higher of its fair value less costs to sell and its value in use. Value in use is the present value of the future cash flows expected to be derived from the asset. Where the future economic benefit of an asset is not primarily dependent on the asset's ability to generate future cash flows, and the asset would be replaced if the Institute were deprived of the asset, its value in use is taken to be its depreciated replacement cost.

Derecognition

An item of leasehold improvements, plant and equipment is derecognised upon disposal or when no further future economic benefits are expected from its use or disposal.

1.16 Intangibles

The Institute's intangibles comprise commercially purchased software. These assets are carried at cost less accumulated amortisation and accumulated impairment losses.

Software is amortised on a straight-line basis over its anticipated useful life. The useful lives of the Institute's software are 3 to 5 years (2009-10: 3 to 5 years).

All software assets were assessed for indications of impairment as at 30 June 2011.

1.17 Taxation

The Institute is exempt from all forms of taxation except Fringe Benefits Tax (FBT) and the Goods and Services Tax (GST).

Revenues, expenses and assets are recognised net of GST except:

  1. where the amount of GST incurred is not recoverable from the Australian Taxation Office; and
  2. for receivables and payables.

Note 2: Events after the reporting period

There were no significant events after the reporting period that would significantly affect the ongoing structure and financial activities of the Institute.

Note 3: Expenses

Note 3A: Employee benefits
  2011
$
2010
$
Wages and salaries 4,836,631 5,095,111
Superannuation
Defined contribution plans 454,717 436,224
Defined benefit plans 355,910 391,806
Leave and other entitlements 914,502 801,919
Other employee benefits 112,660 124,323
Total employee benefits 6,674,420 6,849,383
Note 3B: Suppliers
  2011
$
2010
$
Goods and services
Consultants 202,798 202,583
Contractors 1,598,099 2,087,292
Stationery 58,150 65,511
Total goods and services 1,859,047 2,355,386
Goods and services are made up of:
Provision of goods - related entities 9,768 21,517
Provision of goods - external parties 173,682 224,442
Rendering of services - related entities 89,458 136,421
Rendering of services - external parties 1,586,139 1,973,006
Total goods and services 1,859,047 2,355,386
Other supplier expenses
Operating lease rentals - external parties:
Minimum lease payments 558,705 544,396
Workers compensation expenses 42,232 34,013
Total other supplier expenses 600,937 578,409
Total supplier expenses 2,459,984 2,933,795
Note 3C: Depreciation and amortisation
  2011
$
2010
$
Depreciation:
Leasehold improvements 62,718 63,112
Plant and equipment 220,715 222,084
Total depreciation 283,433 285,196
Amortisation:
Intangibles:
Computer software 13,253 11,207
Total amortisation 13,253 11,207
Total depreciation and amortisation 296,686 296,403
Note 3D: Write-down and impairment of assets
  2011
$
2010
$
Asset write-downs and impairments from:
Write-down of leasehold improvements - 14,017
Write-down of plant and equipment - 70,438
Total write-down and impairment of assets - 84,455
Note 3E: Losses from asset sales
  2011
$
2010
$
Plant and equipment:
Proceeds from sale - -
Carrying value of assets sold 1,173 1,321
Selling expense - 383
Net losses from sale of assets 1,173 1,704

Note 4: Income

OWN-SOURCE REVENUE
Note 4A: Sale of goods and rendering of services
  2011
$
2010
$
Provision of goods - related entities 480 2,700
Provision of goods - external parties 37,200 62,492
Rendering of services - related entities 4,416,500 5,675,249
Rendering of services - external parties 1,000,211 396,580
Total sale of goods and rendering of services 5,454,391 6,137,021
Note 4B: Royalties
  2011
$
2010
$
Copyright 40,019 76,350
Total royalties 40,019 76,350
Note 4C: Other revenue
  2011$ 2010$
Cost recovery 99,881 40,860
Other 1,856 40,821
Total other revenue 101,737 81,681
GAINS
Note 4D: Other gains
  2011
$
2010
$
Resources received free of charge 22,500 22,650
Total other gains 22,500 22,650
REVENUE FROM GOVERNMENT
Note 4E: Revenue from Government
  2011
$
2010
$
Appropriations:
Departmental appropriation 3,518,000 3,850,000
Total revenue from Government 3,518,000 3,850,000

Note 5: Financial assets

Note 5A: Cash and cash equivalents
  2011
$
2010
$
Cash at bank 384,860 69,530
Cash on hand 500 970
Total cash and cash equivalents 385,360 70,500
Note 5B: Trade and other receivables
  2011
$
2010
$
Good and services:
Goods and services - related entities 360,252 357,045
Goods and services - external parties 200,428 311,632
Total receivables for goods and services 560,680 668,677
Appropriations receivable:
For existing programs 3,972,101 3,179,347
Total appropriations receivable 3,972,101 3,179,347
Other receivables:
Other receivables 16,723 14,384
Total other receivables 16,723 14,384
Total trade and other receivables 4,549,504 3,862,408
Receivables are expected to be recovered in:
No more than 12 months 4,549,136 3,862,107
More than 12 months 368 301
Total trade and other receivables 4,549,504 3,862,408
Receivables are aged as follows:
Not overdue 4,548,316 3,862,408
Overdue by:
0 to 30 days 1,188 -
31 to 60 days - -
61 to 90 days - -
More than 90 days - -
Total receivables 4,549,504 3,862,408

Note 6: Non-financial assets

Note 6A: Leasehold improvements
  2011
$
2010
$
Leasehold improvements:
Fair value 421,140 416,200
Accumulated depreciation (62,718) -
Total leasehold improvements 358,422 416,200

All revaluations were conducted in accordance with the revaluation policy stated at Note 1.
In 2009-10, an independent valuer of the Australian Valuation Office conducted the revaluations.

During 2009-10, write-downs of $14,018 for leasehold improvements (2011: nil)
resulting from the revaluation were recognised as an expense.

No indicators of impairment were found for leasehold improvements.

No leasehold improvements are expected to be sold or disposed of within the next 12 months.

Note 6B: Plant and equipment
  2011
$
2010
$
Plant and equipment:
Fair value 1,171,812 1,078,266
Accumulated depreciation (222,349) (1,661)
Total plant and equipment 949,463 1,076,605

All revaluations were conducted in accordance with the revaluation policy stated at Note 1.
In 2009-10, an independent valuer of the Australian Valuation Office conducted the revaluations.

During 2009-10, write-downs of $70,437 for plant and equipment (2011: nil)
resulting from the revaluation were recognised as an expense.

No indicators of impairment were found for plant and equipment.

No plant and equipment is expected to be sold or disposed of within the next 12 months.

Note 6C: Reconciliation of the opening and closing balances of leasehold improvements, plant and equipment

Reconciliation of the opening and closing balances of leasehold improvements, plant and equipment (2010-11)
  Leasehold improvements
$
Plant & equipment
$
Total
$
As at 1 July 2010
Gross book value 416,200 1,078,266 1,494,466
Accumulated depreciation and impairment - (1,661) (1,661)
Net book value 1 July 2010 416,200 1,076,605 1,492,805
Additions* 4,940 94,746 99,686
Depreciation expense (62,718) (220,715) (283,433)
Disposals:
Other - (1,173) (1,173)
Net book value 30 June 2011 358,422 949,463 1,307,885
Net book value as of 30 June 2011 represented by:
Gross book value 421,140 1,171,812 1,592,952
Accumulated depreciation and impairment (62,718) (222,349) (285,067)
  358,422 949,463 1,307,885

* Disaggregated additions information are disclosed in the Schedule of Asset Additions.

Reconciliation of the opening and closing balances of leasehold improvements, plant and equipment (2009-10)
  Leasehold improvements
$
Plant & equipment
$
Total
$
As at 1 July 2009
Gross book value 636,435 1,903,372 2,539,807
Accumulated depreciation and impairment (144,528) (653,333) (797,861)
Net book value 1 July 2009 491,907 1,250,039 1,741,946
Additions* 1,423 120,408 121,831
Revaluations recognised in the operating result (14,018) (70,437) (84,455)
Depreciation expense (63,112) (222,084) (285,196)
Disposals:
Other - (1,321) (1,321)
Net book value 30 June 2010 416,200 1,076,605 1,492,805
Net book value as of 30 June 2010 represented by:
Gross book value 416,200 1,078,266 1,494,466
Accumulated depreciation and impairment - (1,661) (1,661)
  416,200 1,076,605 1,492,805

* Disaggregated additions information are disclosed in the Schedule of Asset Additions.

Note 6D: Intangibles
  2011
$
2010
$
Computer software:
Purchased 107,788 107,788
Total computer software 107,788 107,788
Accumulated amortisation (104,049) (90,796)
Total computer software 3,739 16,992
Total intangibles 3,739 16,992

No indicators of impairment were found for intangible assets.

No intangibles is expected to be sold or disposed of within the next 12 months.

Note 6E: Reconciliation of the opening and closing balances of intangibles

Reconciliation of the opening and closing balances of intangibles (2010-11)
Computer software purchased as at 1 July 2010 $
Gross book value 107,788
Accumulated amortisation and impairment (90,796)
Net book value 1 July 2010 16,992
Amortisation (13,253)
Net book value 30 June 2011 3,739
Net book value as of 30 June 2011 represented by:
Gross book value 107,788
Accumulated amortisation and impairment (104,049)
  3,739
Reconciliation of the opening and closing balances of intangibles (2009-10)
Computer software purchased as at 1 July 2009 $
Gross book value 97,318
Accumulated amortisation and impairment (79,589)
Net book value 1 July 2009 17,729
Additions * 10,470
Amortisation (11,207)
Net book value 30 June 2010 16,992
Net book value as of 30 June 2010 represented by:
Gross book value 107,788
Accumulated amortisation and impairment (90,796)
  16,992

* Disaggregated additions information are disclosed in the Schedule of Asset Additions.

Note 6F: Other non-financial assets
  2011
$
2010
$
Prepayments 93,963 186,087
Total other non-financial assets 93,963 186,087
Total other non-financial assets - are expected to be recovered in:
No more than 12 months 86,006 182,697
More than 12 months 7,957 3,390
Total other non-financial assets 93,963 186,087

No indicators of impairment were found for other non-financial assets.

Note 7: Payables

Note 7A: Suppliers
  2011
$
2010
$
Trade creditors and accruals 241,906 155,136
Total supplier payables 241,906 155,136
Supplier payables expected to be settled within 12 months:
Related entities 14,193 16,285
External parties 227,713 138,851
Total supplier payables 241,906 155,136

Settlement is usually made within 30 days.

Note 7B: Other payables
  2011
$
2010
$
Salaries and wages 155,479 166,815
Superannuation 20,257 16,722
Unearned income 1,724,832 1,032,562
Lease incentive 521,900 614,000
Lease payable 223,993 200,116
GST payable to ATO 140,374 125,974
Other 5,119 111,281
Total other payables 2,791,954 2,267,470
Total other payables are expected to be settled in:
No more than 12 months 2,140,336 1,545,454
More than 12 months 651,618 722,016
Total other payables 2,791,954 2,267,470

Note 8: Provisions

Note 8A: Employee provisions
  2011
$
2010
$
Leave 1,577,684 1,411,663
Total employee provisions 1,577,684 1,411,663
Employee provisions are expected to be settled in:
No more than 12 months 349,601 323,255
More than 12 months 1,228,083 1,088,408
Total employee provisions 1,577,684 1,411,663

Note 9: Cash flow reconciliation

Cash flow reconciliation
  2011
$
2010
$
Reconciliation of cash and cash equivalents as per Balance Sheet to Cash Flow Statement
Report cash and cash equivalents as per:    
Cash Flow Statement 385,360 70,500
Balance Sheet 385,360 70,500
Difference - -
Reconciliation of net cost of services to net cash from operating activities:
Net cost of services (3,813,616) (3,848,038)
Add revenue from Government 3,518,000 3,850,000
Adjustments for non-cash items
Depreciation/amortisation 296,686 296,403
Net loss on disposal of assets 1,173 1,704
Write-down of non-financial assets - 84,455
Changes in assets/liabilities
(Increase)/decrease in net receivables (556,782) 687,444
Decrease/(increase) in prepayments 92,124 (52,211)
Increase in employee provisions 166,021 151,128
Increase/(decrease) in supplier payables 86,770 (275,233)
Increase/(decrease) in unearned income 692,270 (846,798)
(Decrease) in lease incentive (92,100) (92,100)
Increase in lease payable 23,877 41,287
Increase in GST payable 14,400 125,974
(Decrease) in other payables (113,963) (90,741)
Net cash from operating activities 314,860 33,274

Note 10: Senior executive remuneration

Note 10A: Senior executive remuneration expense for the reporting period
  2011
$
2010
$
Short-term employee benefits:
Salary 459,304 582,911
Annual leave accrued 27,128 29,634
Performance bonuses 11,970 50,529
Motor vehicle and other allowances 22,972 46,303
Total short-term employee benefits 521,374 709,377
Post-employment benefits:
Superannuation 65,886 84,663
Total post-employment benefits 65,886 84,663
Other long-term benefits:
Long service leave 17,334 19,473
Total other long-term benefits 17,334 19,473
Termination benefits - -
Total 604,594 813,513

Notes:

  1. Note 10A was prepared on an accrual basis (so the performance bonus expenses disclosed above differ from the cash "Bonus paid" in Note 10B). In addition, performance bonuses for SES was discontinued from 1 January 2011; this has been rolled into salary.
  2. Note 10A excludes acting arrangements and part-year service where remuneration expensed for a senior executive was less than $150,000.

Note 10B: Average annual remuneration packages and bonus paid for substantive senior executives as at end of the reporting period

As at 30 June 2011
Fixed elements and bonus paid 1 Senior
executives no.
Fixed elements Bonus paid 2
$
Salary
$
Allowances
$
Total
$
Total remuneration (including part-time arrangements):          
$150,000 to $179,999 1 148,000 23,000 171,000 -
$180,000 to $209,999 1 172,000 23,000 195,000 23,940
$270,000 to $299,999 1 296,645 - 296,645 -
Total 3        
As at 30 June 2010
Fixed elements and bonus paid 1 Senior
executives no.
Fixed elements Bonus paid 2
$
Salary
$
Allowances
$
Total
$
Total remuneration (including part-time arrangements):          
$150,000 to $179,999 2 153,300 23,000 176,300 22,995
$180,000 to $209,999 - - - - -
$270,000 to $299,999 1 284,960 - 284,960 -
Total 3        

Notes:

  1. This table reports substantive senior executives who were employed by the Institute at the end of the reporting period. Fixed elements were based on the employment agreement of each individual. Each row represents an average annualised figure (based on headcount) for the individuals in that remuneration package band (i.e., the "Total" column).
  2. This represents average actual bonuses paid during the reporting period in that remuneration package band. The "Bonus paid" was excluded from the "Total" calculation, (for the purpose of determining remuneration package bands). The "Bonus paid" within a particular band may vary between financial years due to various factors such as individuals commencing with or leaving the Institute during the financial year.

Variable elements:

With the exception of bonuses, variable elements were not included in the "Fixed elements and bonus paid" table above. The following variable elements were available as part of senior executives' remuneration package:

  1. Bonuses:
    • Bonuses were based on the performance rating of each individual. The maximum bonus that an individual could receive was 15 per cent of his/her base salary. Performance bonuses for SES was discontinued from 1 January 2011; this has been rolled into salary.
  2. On average, senior executives were entitled to the following leave entitlements:
    • Annual Leave (AL): entitled to 20 days (2010: 20 days) each full year worked (pro-rata for part-time SES);
    • Personal Leave (PL): entitled to 20 days (2010: 20 days) or part-time equivalent; and
    • Long Service Leave (LSL): in accordance with Long Service Leave (Commonwealth Employees) Act 1976.
  3. Senior executives were members of one of the following superannuation funds:
    • Public Sector Superannuation Scheme (PSS): this scheme is closed to new members, with current employer contributions set at 15.7 per cent (2010: 15.5 per cent) (including productivity component). More information on PSS can be found at http://www.pss.gov.au;
    • Public Sector Superannuation accumulation plan (PSSap): employer contributions were set at 15.4 per cent (2010: 15.4 per cent), and the fund has been in operation since July 2005. More information on PSSap can be found at http://www.pssap.gov.au; and
    • Other: there was one senior executive who had his own superannuation arrangements (e.g., self-managed superannuation funds). His employer contributions was set at 17 per cent (2010: 17 per cent).
  4. Various salary sacrifice arrangements were available to senior executives including super, motor vehicle and expense payment fringe benefits.

Note 10C: Other highly paid staff

During the reporting period, there were no employees (2010: nil) whose salary plus performance bonus were $150,000 or more.

Note 11: Remuneration of auditors

Remuneration of auditors
  2011
$
2010
$
Financial statement audit services were provided free of charge to the Institute.    
The fair value of the services provided was: 22,500 22,650
  22,500 22,650

No other services were provided by the auditors of the financial statements.

Note 12: Financial instruments

Note 12A: Categories of financial instruments
  2011
$
2010
$
Financial assets
Loans and receivables:
Cash on hand or on deposit 385,360 70,500
Trade and other receivables 577,403 683,061
Total 962,763 753,561
Carrying amount of financial assets 962,763 753,561
     
Financial liabilities
At amortised cost:
Supplier payables 200,080 131,504
Total 200,080 131,504
Carrying amount of financial liabilities 200,080 131,504

Note 12B: Net income and expense from financial assets

There was no income or expense from financial assets - loans and receivables in the financial year ended 30 June 2011 (2010: nil).

Note 12C: Net income and expense from financial liabilities

There was no income or expense from financial liabilities - at amortised cost in the financial year ended 30 June 2011 (2010: nil).

Note 12D: Fair value of financial instruments

There were no financial instruments held at 30 June 2011 where the carrying amount is not a reasonable approximation of fair value (2010: nil).

Note 12E: Credit risk

The Institute was exposed to minimal credit risk as loans and receivables were cash, trade and other receivables. The maximum exposure to credit risk is the risk that arises from potential default of a debtor. This amount is equal to the total amount of trade and other receivables (2011: $577,403 and 2010: $683,061). The Institute has assessed that there is no risk of default on payment.

The Institute manages its credit risk by undertaking background and credit checks prior to allowing a debtor relationship and has no significant exposures to any concentrations of credit risk.

No financial instruments were impaired in 2011 (2010: nil).

The Institute holds no collateral to mitigate against credit risk.

Credit quality of financial instruments not past due or individually determined as impaired
  Not past due nor impaired
2011
$
Not past due nor impaired
2010
$
Past due or impaired
2011
$
Past due or impaired
2010
$
Loans and receivables
Cash and cash equivalents 385,360 70,500 - -
Trade and other receivables 576,215 683,061 1,188 -
Total 961,575 753,561 1,188 -
Ageing of financial assets that were past due but not impaired for 2011
  0 to 30 days
$
31 to 60 days
$
61 to 90 days
$
90+ days
$
Total
$
Loans and receivables
Trade and other receivables 1,188 - - - 1,188
Total 1,188 - - - 1,188
Ageing of financial assets that were past due but not impaired for 2010
  0 to 30 days
$
31 to 60 days
$
61 to 90 days
$
90+ days
$
Total
$
Loans and receivables
Trade and other receivables - - - - -
Total - - - - -

Note 12F: Liquidity risk

The Institute's financial liabilities were trade creditors. The exposure to liquidity risk is based on the notion that the Institute will encounter difficulty in meeting its obligations associated with financial liabilities.

This was highly unlikely as the Institute is funded by contract research revenue and appropriated funding from the Australian Government. The Institute manages its budgeted funds to ensure it has adequate funds to meet payments as they fall due. In addition, the Institute has policies in place to ensure timely payments are made when due and has no past experience of default.

All non-derivative financial liabilities mature within one year (2010: one year). The Institute has no derivative financial liabilities in either the current or prior year.

Note 12G: Market risk

The Institute holds basic financial instruments that do not expose the Institute to certain market risks.

The Institute was not exposed to "Currency risk", "Interest rate risk" or "Other price risk".

Note 13: Appropriations

Table A: Annual appropriations ("Recoverable GST exclusive") - part 1
  2010-11 appropriations Appropriation
applied in 2011
(current and
prior years)
$
Variance (c)
$
  Appropriation Act FMA Act Total
appropriation
$
  Annual
appropriation
$
Appropriations
reduced (a)
$
Section 30
$
Section 31
$
Departmental
Ordinary annual services 3,518,000 - 99,881 6,294,195 9,912,076 8,949,175 962,901
Other services
Equity 230,000 - - - 230,000 99,686 130,314
Total departmental 3,748,000 - 99,881  
   
   
0
(current and
prior years)
$
Variance (c)
$
  Appropriation Act FMA Act Total
appropriation
$
  Annual
appropriation
$
Appropriations
reduced (a)
$
Section 30
$
Section 31
$
Departmental
Ordinary annual services 3,850,000 - 40,860 5,514,250 9,405,110 10,211,082 (805,972)
Other services
Equity - - - - - - -
Total departmental 3,850,000 - 40,860 5,514,250 9,405,110 10,211,082 (805,972)

Notes:

  1. Appropriations reduced under Appropriation Acts (No. 1, 3) 2009-10: Sections 10, 11 and 12 and under Appropriation Acts (No. 2, 4) 2009-10: Sections 12, 13 and 14. Departmental appropriations do not lapse at financial year-end. However, the responsible Minister may decide that part or all of a departmental appropriation is not required and request that the Finance Minister reduce that appropriation. The reduction in the appropriation is effected by the Finance Minister's determination and is disallowable by Parliament. In 2010, there was no reduction in departmental and non-operating departmental appropriations.
  2. In 2009-10, there were no adjustments that met the recognition criteria of a formal addition or reduction in revenue (in accordance with FMO Div. 101) but at law the appropriations had not been amended before the end of the reporting period.
  3. The variance is due to timing differences of receipt of funding and the appropriation applied.
Table B: Unspent departmental annual appropriations ("Recoverable GST exclusive")
  2011
$
2010
$
Authority
Appropriation Act (No. 1) 2010-11 4,211,882 -
Appropriation Act (No. 1) 2009-10 - 3,138,169
Total 4,211,882 3,138,169

Note 14: Special accounts

Other trust monies account (special public money) (departmental) (abolished on 19 October 2010)
  2011
$
2010
$
Appropriation: Financial Management and Accountability Act 1997 subsection 20(1)
Establishing instrument: Financial Management and Accountability Determination 2006/35 - Other Trust Moneys -
Australian Institute of Family Studies Special Account Establishment 2006
Purpose: Maintain amounts temporarily held on trust for or held for the benefit of a person other than the Australian Government.
This account is non-interest bearing.
   
Balance carried from previous period - -
Other receipts - 14,839
Total increase - 14,839
Payments made - (14,839)
Total decrease - (14,839)
Total balance carried to the next period - -

Note 15: Compensation and debt relief

Departmental
  2011
$
2010
$
No "Act of Grace payments" were expended during the reporting period (2010: nil). - -
No waivers of amounts owing to the Australian Government were made pursuant to subsection 34(1) of the Financial Management and Accountability Act 1997 (2010: nil). - -
No payments were provided under the Compensation for Detriment caused by Defective Administration (CDDA) Scheme during the reporting period (2010: nil). - -
No ex-gratia payments were provided for during the reporting period (2010: nil). - -
No payments were provided in special circumstances relating to APS employment pursuant to Section 73 of the Public Service Act 1999 during the reporting period (2010: nil). - -

Note 16: Reporting of outcomes

Note 16A: Net cost of outcome delivery
  Outcome 1
2011
$
2010
$
Expenses
Departmental 9,432,263 10,165,740
Total 9,432,263 10,165,740
Income from non-government sector
Departmental
Activities subject to cost recovery (1,037,411) (459,072)
Goods and services income (4,416,980) (5,677,949)
Total (5,454,391) (6,137,021)
Other own-source income
Departmental (164,256) (180,681)
Total (164,256) (180,681)
Net cost of outcome delivery 3,813,616 3,848,038

Outcome 1 is described in Note 1.1. Net costs shown included intra-government costs that were eliminated in calculating the actual Budget Outcome.

Note 16B: Major classes of departmental expense, income, assets and liabilities by outcomes
  Outcome 1
2011
$
2010
$
Departmental expenses:
Employees 6,674,420 6,849,383
Suppliers 2,459,984 2,933,795
Depreciation and amortisation 296,686 296,403
Write-down and impairment of assets - 84,455
Net loss from disposal of assets 1,173 1,704
Total 9,432,263 10,165,740
Departmental income:
Sale of goods and services 5,454,391 6,137,021
Income from government 3,518,000 3,850,000
Other non-taxation revenues 141,756 158,031
Other gains 22,500 22,650
Total 9,136,647 10,167,702
Departmental assets:
Cash and cash equivalents 385,360 70,500
Trade and other receivables 4,549,504 3,862,408
Buildings - leasehold improvements 358,422 416,200
Plant and equipment 949,463 1,076,605
Intangibles 3,739 16,992
Other non-financial assets 93,963 186,087
Total 6,340,451 5,628,792
Departmental liabilities:
Suppliers 241,906 155,136
Other payables 2,791,954 2,267,470
Employee provisions 1,577,684 1,411,663
Total 4,611,544 3,834,269

Outcome 1 is described in Note 1.1. Net costs shown included intra-government costs that were eliminated in calculating the actual Budget Outcome.

Note 17: Comprehensive income (loss) attributable to the Institute

  2011
$
2010
$
Total comprehensive income (loss) attributable to the Institute
Total comprehensive income (loss)* (295,616) 1,962
Plus: non-appropriated expenses:    
Depreciation and amortisation expenses 230,000 -
Total comprehensive income (loss) attributable to the Institute (65,616) 1,962

* As per the Statement of Comprehensive Income.

Appendix A: Other mandatory information

Appendix A: Other mandatory information

Occupational health and safety

The Institute is committed to providing and maintaining a safe and healthy workplace, and meeting its responsibilities under the Occupational Health and Safety (Commonwealth Employment) Act 1991. See Chapter 4: Management Accountability for the Institute's occupational health and safety policies, processes and performance.

Freedom of information

From 1 May 2011, agencies subject to the Freedom of Information Act 1982 ( FOI Act) are required to publish information to the public as part of the Information Publication Scheme (IPS). This requirement is in Part II of the FOI Act and has replaced the former requirement to publish a Section 8 statement in an annual report.

To fulfil these requirements, the Institute provides an Information Publication Plan on the Information Publication Scheme (IPS) web page that links to key published information about the Institute (see <www.aifs.gov.au/ips>). The AIFS website also contains a disclosure log that clearly identifies and provides access to any documents to which we give access in response to FOI requests.

No requests were made of the Institute this year for information under the Freedom of Information Act 1982.

With these recent changes, the Institute is now required to report on Section 8 of the Act, for the period of the 1 July 2010 until 30 April 2011 on:

  • our organisation and functions (for more information, see Chapter 2: Agency Overview);
  • any arrangements for outside participation in policy formation or administration;
  • the categories of documents we hold; and
  • our freedom of information procedures, facilities and contact details.
Outside participation

The Institute has established and maintains formal and informal contacts with a wide range of individuals and organisations for the purpose of obtaining and giving advice, collaborating on studies, exchanging information, seeking access to data and exploring options for the development of the Institute's work.

Specific avenues for outside participation include input by experts in design, seminars and steering groups of Institute studies, external review of Institute manuscripts prior to publication, visiting fellows, and Institute seminars and conferences.

Staff from the Institute's Library handle enquiries by phone, facsimile, email, letter or in person.

Categories of documents

The Institute maintains the following categories of documents:

  • research data collected by survey interviews and questionnaires (this information is obtained from respondents on the understanding that their anonymity will be preserved and the information provided is confidential to the Institute, although datasets may be made available to external researchers when all identifying details are removed);
  • documents relating to day-to-day internal administration and management, including personnel files, staff and management services, correspondence, finance and accounting documents, tenders, contracts and assets lists; and
  • published and unpublished research reports.
Procedures for FOI requests

The procedure the Institute has in place for freedom of information requests is that the Institute's FOI Contact Officer assists applicants to identify the particular documents they seek. If a request is to be refused on grounds appearing in Section 15(2) or Section 24(1) of the Freedom of Information Act 1982 (insufficient information or unreasonable diversion of resources), applicants will be notified and given an opportunity for consultation. The officer authorised to deny access to documents is the Deputy Director (Corporate & Strategy), in consultation with the Director.

Contact details

FOI Contact Officer, Australian Institute of Family Studies, Level 20, 485 La Trobe Street, Melbourne VIC 3000, Contact FOI Contact Officer, phone: 03 9214 7888, fax: 03 9214 7839.

Advertising and market research

The following table provides details of advertising and market research expenditure of $11,200 or greater (inclusive of GST), as required by Section 311A of the Commonwealth Electoral Act 1918.


Table A.1. Institute expenditure on advertising and market research of $11,200 or greater (inc. GST), 2010-11
  Vendor Total payments for 2010-11
Direct mail organisations Mailcare Systems Pty Ltd $40,394
Media advertising organisations Adcorp Australia Ltd $24,705
Total advertising   $65,099

There were no payments made to advertising agencies, market research or polling organisations in relation to advertising. No advertising campaigns were undertaken.

Ecologically sustainable development and environmental performance

Institute management and staff are committed to the principles of ecologically sustainable development. In accordance with government guidelines, AIFS participated in Earth Hour during the year, although it is worth noting that it is Institute practice to always turn off non-essential lighting and appliances.

The Institute's operations have the following environmental impacts and Institute staff have taken the specified initiatives to minimise their impact:

  • In 2010-11, electricity consumption within our tenancy (causing emissions to the air and use of resources) decreased by 9% compared to the previous period. The Institute continued to reinforce the practice of shutting down computers at the end of the day, encouraging staff to switch off lights when not needed and continued the removal of excess lighting.
  • The Institute uses 20% wind power, thus reducing emissions and resource use.
  • All office equipment conforms to environmental standards.
  • Adverse effects due to transport (causing emissions to the air and use of resources) are primarily due to domestic airline flights. Staff are encouraged to use webinar, video and teleconference facilities where possible. Selected seminar presentations are made available electronically so that people do not have to travel to the Institute to hear them.
  • Paper consumption (use of natural resources) is minimised by use of recycled paper and ensuring that printers default to using both sides of the paper. Paper use (number of printer/copier impressions) decreased by 15% compared to the previous period.
  • Waste generation (resource waste and emissions to the air) is reduced by recycling paper, cardboard, glass, plastics and metals.
  • Water consumption (use of natural resources) has been minimised by using water- saving facilities.

Disability reporting

Since 1994, Commonwealth departments and agencies have reported on their performance as policy adviser, purchaser, employer, regulator and provider under the Commonwealth Disability Strategy. In 2007-08, reporting on the employer role was transferred to the Australian Public Service Commission's State of the Service Report and the APS Statistical Bulletin. These reports are available from the Commission's website <www.apsc.gov.au>. From 2010-11, departments and agencies are no longer required to report on these functions.

The Commonwealth Disability Strategy has been overtaken by a new National Disability Strategy, which sets out a ten-year national policy framework for improving life for Australians with disability, their families and carers. A high-level report to track progress for people with disability at a national level will be produced by the Standing Council on Community, Housing and Disability Services to the Council of Australian Governments and will be available on the FaHCSIA website <www.fahcsia.gov.au>. The Social Inclusion Measurement and Reporting Strategy agreed by the Government in December 2009 will also include some reporting on disability matters in its regular How Australia is Faring report and, if appropriate, in strategic change indicators in agency Annual Reports. More detail on social inclusion matters can be found on the Social Inclusion website <www.socialinclusion.gov.au>.

Appendix B: Agency resource statements and expenses by outcomes

Appendix B: Agency resource statements and expenses by outcomes

Agency resource statement 2010-11

  Actual available appropriation for 2010-11
$'000 (a)
Payments made 2010-11
$'000 (b)
Balance remaining 2010-11
$'000
(a) - (b)
Ordinary annual services 1      
Departmental appropriation 2 13,672 9,315 4,357
Total 13,672 9,315 4,357
Total ordinary annual services (A) 13,672 9,315  
Other services 3      
Total other services (B) - -  
Total available annual appropriations and payments 13,672 9,315  
Special appropriations      
Total special appropriations (C)   -  
Special accounts 4      
Total special account     -
Total resourcing A+B+C+D 13,672 9,315  
Less appropriations drawn from annual or special appropriations above and credited to special accounts and/or CAC Act bodies through annual appropriations - -  
Total net resourcing for AIFS 13,672 9,315  

1 Appropriation Bill (No. 1) 2010-11. This may also include prior year departmental appropriation and S.31 relevant agency receipts.

2 Includes an amount of $0.230 m in 2010-11 for the Departmental Capital Budget. For accounting purposes this amount has been designated as "contributions by owners".

3 Appropriation Bill (No. 2) 2010-11 and Appropriation Bill (No. 4) 2010-11.

4 Does not include "Special Public Money" held in accounts like Other Trust Monies (OTM) accounts. Services for Other Government and Non-Agency Bodies (SOG) accounts, or Services for Other Entities and Trust Moneys Special (SOETM) accounts. 

Expenses and resources for Outcome 1, 2010-11

Outcome 1: Increased understanding of factors affecting how families function by conducting research and communicating findings to policy-makers, service providers, and the broader community Budget* 2010-11 $'000 (a) Actual Expenses 2010-11 $'000 (b) Variation 2010-11 $'000
(a) - (b)
Program 1.1: Australian Institute of Family Studies
Departmental expenses      
Ordinary annual services (Appropriation Bill No. 1) 3,518 3,518 -
Revenues from independent sources (Section 31) 5,953 5,596 357
Expenses not requiring appropriation in the Budget year 330 319 11
Total for Program 1.1 9,801 9,433 368

 

  2009-10 2010-11 Variation 2010-11
Average staffing level (number) 66 64 2

* Full year budget, including any subsequent adjustment made to the 2010-11 Budget.

Appendix C: Compliance index

The Annual Report is prepared in accordance with the Requirements for Annual Reports approved by the Joint Committee of Public Accounts and Audit. This index refers to mandatory and suggested reporting items.

Review by Director

Agency overview

Report on performance

Management accountability

Corporate governance
External scrutiny
Management of human resources
Assets management
Purchasing
Consultants
  • The annual report must include a summary statement detailing the number of new consultancy services contracts let during the year; the total actual expenditure on all new consultancy contracts let during the year (inclusive of GST); the number of ongoing consultancy contracts that were active in the reporting year; and the total actual expenditure in the reporting year on the ongoing consultancy contracts (inclusive of GST). The annual report must include a statement noting that information on contracts and consultancies is available through the AusTender website. (Additional information as in Attachment D to be available on the Internet or published as an appendix to the report. Information must be presented in accordance with the proforma as set out in Attachment D.)
Australian National Audit Office Access Clauses
Exempt contracts

Financial statements

Other mandatory information

Appendix D: Acronyms and abbreviations

Appendix D: Acronyms and abbreviations

AASB Australian Accounting Standards Board
ABS Australian Bureau of Statistics
ACSPRI Australian Consortium for Social and Political Research Incorporated
ACSSA Australian Centre for the Study of Sexual Assault
ACT Australian Capital Territory
ACTU Australian Council of Trade Unions
AF&SA Australian Family & Society Abstracts
AFRC Australian Family Relationships Clearinghouse
AGD Attorney-General's Department
AIC Australian Institute of Criminology
AIFS Australian Institute of Family Studies
AIHW Australian Institute of Health and Welfare
AL Annual leave
AM Member of the Order of Australia
ANU Australian National University
AO Officer of the Order of Australia
APS Australian Public Service
ARACY Australian Research Alliance for Children and Youth
ARC Australian Research Council
ATP Australian Temperament Project
CAFCA Communities and Families Clearinghouse Australia
CALD Culturally and linguistically diverse
CASA Centre Against Sexual Assault House
CB Companion of the Order of the Bath
CDDA Compensation for Detriment Caused by Defective Administration
CfC Communities for Children
COAG Council of Australian Governments
CSS Commonwealth Superannuation Scheme
Cth Commonwealth
DCB Department Capital Budget
DEEWR Department of Education, Employment and Workplace Relations
DHS Australian Government Department of Human Services
EAMFF East Asia Ministerial Forum on Families
EL Executive Level
FaHCSIA Department of Families, Housing, Community Services and Indigenous Affairs
FBT Fringe Benefits Tax
FMA Act Financial Management and Accountability Act 1997
FMO Finance Minister's Order
FOI Act Freedom of Information Act 1982
FRC Family Relationship Centre
GST Goods and services tax
HILDA Household, Income and Labour Dynamics in Australia
IPS Information Publication Scheme
LSAC Growing Up in Australia: The Longitudinal Study of Australian Children
LSIC Footprints in Time: The Longitudinal Study of Indigenous Children
LSS Long service leave
LSSF Longitudinal Study of Separated Families
MLA Member of the Legislative Assembly
MP Member of Parliament
NAPLAN National Assessment Plan - Literacy and Numeracy
NCPC National Child Protection Clearinghouse
NSW New South Wales
NT Northern Territory
NTER Northern Territory Emergency Response
OECD Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development
OPA Official Public Account
PBS Portfolio Budget Statements
PL Personal leave
PM&C Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet
PPP Promising Practice Profiles
PSM Public Service Medal
PSS Public Sector Superannuation Scheme
PSSap Public Sector Superannuation Scheme Accumulation Plan
Qld Queensland
RAAC Risk Assessment and Audit Committee
RACV Royal Automobile Club Victoria
RCN Raising Children Network
SA South Australia
SES Senior Executive Service
SFIA Stronger Families in Australia
SPRC Social Policy Research Centre, University of New South Wales
TAC Transport Accident Commission
Tas. Tasmania
UK United Kingdom
USA United States of America
Vic. Victoria
WA Western Australia

Publication details

Annual Report
Published by the Australian Institute of Family Studies, October 2011
160 pp.

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