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History of Family Support Programs

The Family Support Model  is built on a history that grew out of the women’s movement in the 1960s.  The women’s movement brought about not just the change in women’s status and expectations but identified the oppression of women and children in both society and families. Alongside and central to the women’s movement grew the realisation that physical, mental, and sexual abuse were prevalent and needed be addressed.

The program contested the views that:

  • If the head of the family was willing to earn and share his wages the family’s basic needs could be met
  • The mood of an adult (usually the man) should determine the emotional well being and safety of his wife and children
  • It was nobody else’s business what went on behind closed doors and Government should not interfere except in the most extreme circumstances.

At the time, single parenthood was increasingly accepted and financially supported, women were entering the workforce in greater numbers, and generational employment was identified as an issue which impacted children’s development.

These days, the ‘anti male’ views of the time have changed. While still taking a strong stance, never condoning violence or abuse, children need their fathers and fathers are capable and willing of providing vital modelling, love, and support to their children. Men are equally supported providing they share the values around safety and misuse of power.

Reference: The Role of Family Support Services in keeping NSW Children Safe