22 January 2018: Middle Years Forum II wrap and links

L-R: Alasdair Roy, Wendy Cave, Sharon Bessell, Tim Moore & Sue Packer

Families ACT hosted its second Middle Years Forum on November 15, bringing together practitioners from the community sector, education, health and ACT Government to discuss the unique needs of children aged in their Middle Years, between eight and 12. 

Keynote speaker Sharon Bessell, from the ANU's Crawford School of Public Policy, talked about her research into how Middle Years children conceptualise community, and what they need from the communities they live in.

Consultant psychologist Alasdair Roy spoke about his experience of visiting the Nordic countries as a Churchill Scholar, and his observations about how Sweden, Finland and Norway promote and protect children's rights.

Tim Moore of the Institute of Child Protection Studies discussed the experiences and needs of Middle Years children who care for family members.

Wendy Cave, the Principal of Macquarie Primary School, shared her observations of Middle Years children at her school, as they prepare for the tradition to high school.

Community Paediatrician Sue Packer talked about how children grow in their Middle Years, noting that they need room to take risks and make mistakes in order to grow.

Video of all of the presentations can be found on Families ACT's YouTube Channel, and the presenters' PowerPoint presentations can be viewed on our Publications Page.


26 September 2017: Families ACT shares member feedback with CSD

 Each year Families ACT reports to the Community Services Directorate on our performance, based on the feedback we receive through our annual member and stakeholder survey. To see more about the feedback we received, click here.


28 August 2017: Families ACT AGM and new President

Thanks to all the members who attended our AGM on Monday 28 August. Special thanks to Mary Pekin for her four years with the Families ACT Board, including one term as President. We welcome Pauline Thorneloe to the Board, and as incoming President. 

Our Board is essential to the good governance of Families ACT, and we appreciate their expertise and generous support. Thank you to (pictured below, L-R) Liam McNicholas, Pauline Thorneloe, Judith Tokley, Lucy Mitchell, Mary Pekin, Justine McNamara and Families ACT Executive Officer Will Mollison. (Absent Riyana Miranti, Stephanie Males)

Families ACT 2017 Annual Report

(L-R) Pauline Thorneloe, President of the Families ACT Board, with Executive Officer Will Mollison, and outgoing President Mary Pekin.


06 June 2017: Media Release - ACT Budget 2017-18

Broadcasting sporting matches or housing homeless families: can't Canberra do both?

The ACT Budget’s $1 million increase to homelessness services is overshadowed by the allocation of $11.6 million to upgrade Manuka Oval’s broadcasting facilities.

Families ACT Executive Officer Will Mollison says the money committed for new media and broadcasting facilities at Manuka Oval shows that there is money to be spent in the ACT, and we should be directing more to services that support the growing number of homeless Canberra families.

“We congratulate the Treasurer on the ACT’s improved Budget position, and believe this should be reflected in addressing the growing gap between those who enjoy Canberra’s prosperity and liveability, and those at the bottom of the ladder,” Mr Mollison said.

“It’s winter in Canberra, and while women escaping domestic violence are sleeping in cars with their children, we are still waiting for a strategy to address homelessness and housing affordability. The community sector has been asking for action for three years, and in that time the number of people without safe shelter continues to grow.”

On a positive note, Families ACT is glad to see the ACT Government has listened to concerns from community organisations and child health professionals about the need to provide greater mental health support for children in the Middle Years, those aged 8-12.

The $1.17 million commitment to expand the Primary School Intervention Program (under CAMHS, the Child and Adolescent Mental Health Service) will increase counselling services to primary school-aged children who are showing early signs of mental health concerns, such as depression and anxiety.

“Families ACT has been concerned about the gap in services for primary school-aged children, particularly those aged eight to 12, which is one of the most crucial development stages in a person’s life,” Mr Mollison said.

“This is a common-sense prevention and early intervention investment. A huge body of research shows that the Middle Years are the next best opportunity, after early childhood, to address issues that can become more serious in the teenage years, and entrenched in adulthood.

For further details please contact: 

Karen Hall, Media & Research Officer

Phone: 0414 818 541  Email: comms@familiesact.org.au

Families ACT Executive Officer Will Mollison with Community Services Minister Rachel Stephen-Smith. 

Community Services Minister Rachel Stephen-Smith visits Families ACT

May 15, 2017

Families ACT hosted a Thank You Breakfast to kick off National Families Week (May 15-21) and to thank the staff of all our member organisations for the work they do 365 days a year supporting children, young people and families in the ACT and surrounding region. The enduring theme for National Families Week, 'Stronger Families, Stronger Communities', reflects the commitment of our member organisations to ensure that all families receive the support they need.

Thanks to Community Services Minister Rachel Stephen-Smith for joining us for breakfast, and taking the opportunity to meet our members and hear more about the fantastic work they do.

For more information about National Families Week visit www.nfw.org.au


 Middle Years Forum update

A big thank you to everyone who attended Families ACT’s Middle Years Forum on 9th February, for making the day such a success and for completing the evaluation forms.

It has been very helpful to have feedback about what people liked about the day and how we might improve future events. We were really pleased to receive a number of suggestions for follow-up forums both on related and unrelated issues.

The collated feedback can be found here.

There was a keen interest in having access to the speakers’ PowerPoint presentations. These can be accessed here:

Professor George Patton 

Professor Gerry Redmond 

Stephen Bartos 

Debbie Noble-Carr 

Alasdair Roy

We were also gratified that participants valued the breadth of agency representation in the room, and by the suggestion that we should be aiming for the same spread of government and community sector representation at future events. One participant was interested in knowing who attended, so please find a list of attendees here.

We have an email list of people who were at the forum and will keep you posted about future developments.

If you missed the Middle Years Forum and would like more information, please contact Families ACT.