Diversity of families can benefit kids – Child Support Agency
Child Support Agency media release:
CSA acknowledges the diverse range of families in today’s society, and how different family members can positively contribute towards raising children.
National Families Week* is a great opportunity to recognise how diverse, complex and rewarding many Australian families are.
Stepfamilies, blended families, grandparents and grandparent carers are just some of the people that can play a role, influence and enrich a child’s development.
For many kids these family members contribute to a rich tapestry of family life providing them with even more people they can rely on for guidance and support, a situation familiar to those working in delivering services for families.
National Manager of Relationships Australia and Ambassador for National Families Week, Rhonda Lawson-Street, believes children of all ages and cultures benefit from a wide range of experiences, role models, and support.
“‘It takes a village to raise a child’ is now a well-known adage, but it’s true,” she said.
“No matter whether the structure of a family is one parent or four parents, when things are working well, the resources and support of extended families, friends, and communities, can make all the difference to the quality of a family’s life.”
Child Support Agency (CSA) Parent Support Services Director, Toni Brown, said that the CSA’s Child Support Officers deal with many complex and varied families on a daily basis, handling on average over 11,000 calls a day.
“While about 1.5 million customers, including over 5,500 non-parent carers, are registered with the CSA, every family situation is unique,” Ms Brown said.
“Many of these families can resemble “The Brady Bunch” containing children who have had both parents re-partner, bringing with them step brothers and/or sisters, half brothers and/or sisters and their extended families.”
Ms Brown said that while bringing two families together can be a complicated and tense time, the CSA has some practical resources to help transforming families grow and develop.
“The free booklet Me and my Changing Family – Moving forward is great for people who are thinking about starting a new relationship, have started a new relationship and those affected by someone’s decision to start a new relationship,” Ms Brown said.
“Some of the things covered include what to expect, useful tips on dealing with everyone’s needs and experiences from other re-partnered families. It can be downloaded or ordered online at www.csa.gov.au or call our publications hotline on 1800 040 972.”
* National Families Week 2009 is being held from 10-16 May 2009. The theme is: National Families Week – Celebrate how everyone makes a difference. For more information visit www.familiesaustralia.org.au