Stepfamilies Australia says National Families Week (10 -16 May 2009), is an important occasion to celebrate the many different types of families across society and acknowledge the many different people who make up these families.
“National Families Week is a critical opportunity to highlight family issues and to recognise the diversity of
contemporary family life”, says Steve Martin from Stepfamilies Australia.
Whilst ‘mum, dad and two kids’ is still considered to be the norm, in suburban streetscapes family life has become increasingly complex. Today’s families are rarely the tidy, homogenous nuclear models many of us knew when we were growing up, instead there are same-sex parents, single parents, grandparents, de-facto partners, carers, step-parents and step-grandparents, step-siblings and half-siblings involved in the mix, as well different cultures, customs and religions.
Of the estimated 5 million families in Australia today, one in every 5 is a stepfamily. Considered to be the fastest growing family unit today their needs are changing as rapidly as the society surrounding them. As an
organisation offering information, education and resources at a community and grass-roots level, Stepfamilies
Australia is uniquely placed to understand the day-to-day challenges faced by stepfamilies, blended families,
carers, grandparents and children.
Stepfamilies Australia expertise and support for families undergoing change and transition has recently been
recognised by the Federal Government. A one-off funding of $100,000 from the Family Support Program will
enable Stepfamilies Australia to undertake a specific 12 month project to help increase family relationships
practitioners’ knowledge and skills so that stepfamilies can achieve better outcomes.
“While the needs of biological families are well recognised in the community, services often fail to address the
unique differences associated with stepfamilies and blended families”, states Steve Martin. “This funding is a very welcome acknowledgement by Minister Macklin’s office that recognises the diverse voices of families and the work Stepfamilies Australia is doing to address specific issues”.
The challenge remains, however, as rapidly changing family needs and forms are not yet at the centre of policy thinking and ongoing resource allocation. National Families Week is an ideal opportunity for the community to recognise that we all have to work together to support families in all their diversity, and that all forms of family deserve respect, understanding and recognition.
For more information about Stepfamilies Australia visit their website www.stepfamiliesaustralia.org.au
Source: Stepfamilies Australia
For information about National Families Week visit www.familiesaustralia.org.au/familiesweek/index.htm