Family Life is an independent community organisation with a strong history of addressing community needs through innovation. From inception in 1970, Family Life has strived to be a centre of research, knowledge and innovation, delivering measurable social change and impact.
Showcased below is a chronological list of particularly important, innovative or significant events in Family Life’s history of providing services for the improved outcomes for families, children and young people:
Family Life was announced in the Top 10 of the Financial Review BOSS Most Innovative Companies for 2023 (Government, Education & Not for Profit) having been recognised for the Community Listening Tour Project in the Best Internal Innovation category.
Family Life was announced in the Top Ten innovators in the GiveEasy Not-for-Profit Innovation Index’s in Australia. View the GiveEasy 2018 Innovation Index here.
Catch Up for Women was created as a prevention and early intervention response to women’s increased vulnerability, including the risk of homelessness, as they age.
Here4U was created as a family violence bystander intervention program that trains volunteer participants to recognise when family violence may be occurring and respond appropriately. For more information about the Here4U Program click here.
Reboot was created as a behaviour modification program that was co-designed by Family Life and TaskForce to counteract increasing incidents of adolescent family violence. For more information about the Reboot Program click here.
Family Life launched Heartlinks, a Social Enterprise business of Family Life, providing relationship education and counselling services.
In 2016 Family Life expanded service expertise to include the Neurosequential Model of Education (NME) for assisting teachers and schools to understand the impact of trauma on children’s development.
Family Life was announced in the Top Ten innovators in the GiveEasy Not-for-Profit Innovation Index’s in Australia. View the GiveEasy 2016 Innovation Index here.
Family Life developed trauma informed and trauma specific services with site certification in NMT.
The SHINE website for children was launched in September 2014 to support SHINE Childrens’ Mental Health project.
The Bayside Children’s Contact Service, a Social Enterprise business of Family Life was opened in February 2014. For more info, click here.
Family Life presented at the inaugural White Ribbon International Conference: Global to Local preventing men’s violence against women.
Jo Cavanagh, then CEO of Family Life presented at the Measuring Social Outcomes Conference.
Family Life’s SHINE Children’s Mental Health paper was published in Developing Practice.
Jo Cavanagh, then CEO of Family Life, profiled by Foresters Community Finance in their case study on community asset building.
Jo Cavanagh and Grant Douglas, then CEO & President of Family Life, were congratulated in Hansard for their good work, by Mr Murray Thompson MLA, Member for Sandringham.
Family Life presented at the Queen Elizabeth Centre 6th International Conference on our Community Bub’s program and the whole-of-community approach used to achieve desired outcomes, including increased parenting efficacy.
Family Life presented at the Family & Relationship Services Australia conference.
Family Life SHINE was asked to be a panellist for Mental Health Forum “What is Mental Health versus Mental Illness”.
Family Life presented at the Centre for Excellence in Child and Family Welfare Research Synopsis, held in July 2012.
Jo Cavanagh, then CEO of Family Life, presented at the Bethany (community services organisation) Annual General Meeting to discuss pertinent social issues in the context of measuring Social Return on Investment and break-even analysis.
Family Life presented at the Australian Psychological Society National Conference, to the Child and Family interest group.
Published the Creating Capable Communities (CCC) toolkit. A resource to support other agencies wishing to implement the Family Life proven Creating Capable Communities model for strengthening families and communities.
The Australian Law Reform Commission cited Family Life in the publication titled ’17. Children’s involvement in the care and protection system’. To view the article, click here.
Family Life staff presented the Mens Behaviour Change Program (known at the time as MATES) to local TAFE colleges, as a model for male support groups.
Family Life presented at the Child & Adolescent Area Mental Health Services (CAMHS) conference on mental health, early intervention and resilience.
Judith Latta, then Director of Community Relations, was invited to present at the Social Enterprise Alliance conference in New Orleans, USA, on Family Life’s best-practice volunteer program.\
Jo Cavanagh, then CEO of Family Life, was cited in the paper titled ‘Child Abuse Prevention Research Australia’, published by the Australian Childhood Foundation, Monash University and Access Economics.
Family Life began delivering the ‘Friends for Life’ program, a 10 week preventative mental health program focusing on anxiety and depression prevention.
Jo Cavanagh, then CEO of Family Life, represented Family Life as a guest speaker at the ‘Future Melbourne’ conference titled Sustaining Melbourne’s Prosperity.
Dr Jenny Higgins (National Child Protection Clearinghouse) and Robyn Parker (Australian Family Relationships Clearinghouse), from the Australian Institute of Family Studies, visited Family Life to learn more about Family Life’s work.
Jo Cavanagh, then CEO of Family Life, was cited in the CREATE Foundation Report on Education.
Family Life presented at the National Child Protection Forum, discussing a holistic integrated community model for preventing abuse and promoting wellbeing and social and economic empowerment.
Jo Cavanagh, then CEO of Family Life, was invited to the Social Enterprise Alliance Gathering in Atlanta, USA, to deliver a presentation on both theory and practical techniques for establishing and measuring the success of a social enterprise.
Family Life advised and supported workplaces seeking to introduce evidence-based workplace models for preventing family violence.
Family Life presented at the Father Inclusive Practice National Forum on listening and working with men, discussing the broad range of services for men including community education, counselling, specialised group work and innovative outreach services.
At the Families and Community Services conference, Family Life presented about the innovative Creating Capable Communities program.
Family Life presented at the Australian Association for Infant Mental Health National Conference in Brisbane, on the new Community Bub’s program as a model for health infants and families.
Family Life’s Knock Out Violence program, an anti-bullying and youth leadership program for school students, was evaluated by Dr Helen McGrath.
A report, co-written by Jo Cavanagh, then CEO of Family Life, which evaluated Family Life’s family violence services, was published by the Australian Domestic and Family Violence Clearing House.
Family Life received an Australian Heads of Government Award for the project “Families and Violence: a Holistic, Family Centred Approach”.
Jo Cavanagh, then CEO of Family Life in collaboration, prepared a program report titled ‘Supporting children and young people affected by family violence : Southern Family Life STAR (Safe Talk About Rights)’.
On behalf of Family Life, Jo Cavanagh presented her research paper titled: ‘A Whole of Family Response to Family Violence : A new program for family violence: policy change and practice integrated with program research’ at the Australian Institute of Family Studies’ conference. Click here to download the paper.
Paper written by, then CEO, Jo Cavanagh and Lesley Hewitt, “Through the eyes of children and families in violence”.
Family Life’s Men’s Behavioural Change Program began in 1986 with the MATES (‘Moving Ahead to Establish Changes’) group for men who use violence towards women and children. No to Violence (NTV) accredited male and female co-facilitators model a respectful co-facilitation relationship. A key aim of the group is for the participants to achieve positive sustained changes in behaviour and attitudes via increasing responsibility and accountability.
Founding Director, Margaret McGregor OAM, founding staff and volunteers, Shirley James, Joan Gerrand and Doris Cater, wrote the book “For Love Not Money”, a handbook for volunteers and volunteer coordinators, which was subsequently published.