From: Defence Media Centre [mediacentre@media.defence.gov.au]
Sent: Tue 23/08/2011 12:47 PM

New program to strengthen Defence families

The Minister for Defence Science and Personnel, Warren Snowdon, today launched the FamilySMART program - a suite of training programs that will empower Defence families to build-on their wellbeing and psychological health.

Mr Snowdon said FamilySMART was developed to foster resilience among Defence families to deal with the extraordinary challenges they face.

“We know Defence families face many difficult circumstances as a result of their loved ones committing to the Australian Defence Force (ADF) to serve our country.

“Deployment, postings and long absences from home combine to disrupt partners’ careers and children’s education.

“FamilySMART will focus on these challenges through a series of five face-to-face programs being delivered to both the ADF member and their partner in small groups,” he said. The programs have been developed by the Defence Community Organisation (DCO) in consultation with Defence’s Mental Health Branch and will be delivered by 26 Defence Social Workers across Australia have been trained to deliver the programs.

The first stage of the scheme will start next month and involve programs in Darwin, Townsville, Cairns and Brisbane, it will be expanded to a further 10 locations in early 2012.

FamilySMART complements the BattleSMART psychological resilience program that seeks to strengthen the ability of serving ADF members to cope with and manage stressful situations.

The programs are part of a wider Defence strategy to support the mental and physical wellbeing of ADF members and their families through prevention-based training.

Mr Snowdon said Defence has a proud history of providing support to its families.

“It’s important to take care of the families of serving members because it’s their strength and courage that makes the Australian Defence Force the powerful, enduring organisation it is.”

Earlier this month the Australian Government announced more support for the Defence Families with a $3 million boost to the Partner Education and Employment Program (PEEP).

PEEP allows the partners of junior ADF members to access $3,000 grants for vocational training and other education opportunities to help them become job-ready.

Media Contacts:
Minister Snowdon’s office: Alice Plate 0400 045 999 or 02 6277 7820