Australian Government strong fathers strong families program – Questions and answers fact sheet
The Strong Fathers Strong Families Program is an Australian Government initiative to promote the role of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander fathers, partners, grandfathers and uncles, and encourage them to actively participate in their childrens and families lives, particularly in the antenatal period and early childhood development years.
What are the objectives of the Program?The Strong Fathers Strong Families Program is an Australian Government initiative to promote the role of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander fathers, partners, grandfathers and uncles, and encourage them to actively participate in their children’s and families’ lives, particularly in the antenatal period and early childhood development years.
What does the Program aim to achieve?
- Increased access by Indigenous males to culturally appropriate health services and antenatal, parenting and other related programs and health messages.
- Help in improving Indigenous males’ ability to contribute positively to the health and wellbeing of the mother’s pregnancy and a nurturing and supportive family environment for the infant.
- Support of the developmental needs of children by encouraging fathers, uncles and grandfathers to be healthy role models and engage fully in the child’s life as early as possible, within the context of local community needs and cultural practices.
When was the Program launched?Minister Snowdon announced the Strong Fathers Strong Families Program on 7 May 2010.
How much funding will the Program provide?This Program commits $6 million (GST exclusive) over three years as $2 million annual allocations in 2010-11, 2011-12 and 2012-13.
Why is the funding for Strong Fathers Strong Families so small?This Program aims to build on and complement the success of other Department of Health and Ageing initiatives addressing Indigenous child and maternal health, namely New Directions Mothers and Babies Services, the Australian Nurse Family Partnership Program and the Healthy for Life program.
Who is eligible to apply for funding under this Program?Those organisations currently delivering services under New Directions Mothers and Babies Services, the Australian Nurse Family Partnership Program or the Healthy for Life program are eligible to apply for funding. Organisations can apply for funding independently or as part of a consortium (which may include organisations otherwise ineligible for this funding).
What types of activities will be funded?It is anticipated a variety of activities will be funded under this Program. In line with local community needs and cultural practices, organisations will conduct activities which give Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander fathers and males increased access to:
- male-inclusive and/or separate men’s antenatal programs to support males in preparing for fatherhood
- community and group activities and strategies that promote positive, healthy, active fatherhood and grand-fatherhood, and the involvement of males in the early development of their children and grandchildren
- health promotion information that promotes new fatherhood and grand-fatherhood as a motivating factor for self care, and care for families and children
- referral and support to attend local parenting, health and related services (e.g. reproductive health, family wellbeing, counselling, peer support groups) as needed.
How important are men in the lives of their babies and children?Involving men in the lives of their children is crucial for the child’s health and wellbeing, and has a strong intergenerational effect. In particular, fathers provide a critical role model for their children; strengthening their identity; and increasing their resilience to adversity. A good relationship between fathers and children also has a positive impact on fathers themselves, their partners and their communities.
If Indigenous males continue to experience barriers to accessing primary health care, antenatal and parenting programs, their ability to contribute fully as fathers, grandfathers and other significant male relatives will be compromised and potential health, education and economic gains lost.
How does this Program fit in the Male Health context?Strong Fathers Strong Families is a component of the [<em>]Building on the Strengths of Australian Males measure with total funding of $16.7 million (over four years from 2010-11).
What is being done for Indigenous men’s health more generally?The Office for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health, in the Department of Health and Ageing, has four main initiatives that include a focus on Indigenous male health:
- Indigenous primary care health services
- Healthy for Life program
- Substance Use services
- Youth Demonstrations Project.