The Stronger Families in Australia (SFIA) study

Stronger Families in Australia (SFIA) is a long-term study of Australian families with young or school-aged children and the communities in which they live.

The information collected from this study will help the Government and service providers to plan the right community services and support for families.

The study timeframe

The study is being done in two phases.

The study started in 2006. This was Phase One. About 2000 families with a 2-3 year old child were randomly selected from a range of communities around Australia.

Phase Two began in 2011. Families were interviewed in September to November, with the children aged 7-8 years of age. 1,8000 new families joined the study, half with a 7-8 year old child and the other half with a 2-3 year old child.

The second round of telephone interviews for Phase Two began in late August 2012 and was completed in November 2012.

The interviews collected the 5th wave of data for the original Communities for Children (CfC) cohort, and the 2nd wave of data for the Communities for Children Plus (CfC Plus) cohort.

The aim of the interviews was to retain as many of the study children and families from both cohorts, following on from the first round of Phase Two interviews conducted in September 2011 to January 2012.

Valuable: Have your say

This is a chance to have your say.

Your answers to the telephone interviews will help.

  • Your answers will help the Australian Government to assess the value of its efforts and to identify what else can be done to assist families in their communities.
  • Your answers will help to secure a better future for children, families and the communities in which they live.

Your views are very important to ensure that we get an accurate picture of what life is like for a wide range of Australian families. SFIA's results will highlight the local support services that are most important in your community.

Who is involved?

The study is being done for the Australian Government Department of Social Services. Two of Australia's leading research agencies are conducting it:

  • the Australian Institute of Family Studies; and
  • the Social Policy Research Centre at the University of New South Wales.

The telephone interviews are being conducted by the Social Research Centre, on behalf of the reserachers.

Telephone interviews

Paricipation is voluntary. It is your choice. If you do not wish to take part in the study you can call 1800 433 135 (freecall from landlines, charges apply for calls from mobile phones).

When an interviewer calls you, they will ask if the time is convenient for your interview. You can arrange to be called back at a later time if you wish.

The interviewer will also remind you that your privacy will be respected.

During the interview, you will be asked questions about the following:

  • your child and their development, including:
    • your child's general health and any specific medical or health conditions;
    • your child's development, including physical development, social skills and behaviour;
  • your views on child rearing and your relationship with your child;
  • your own health and wellbeing, your family life, your sources of support and your housing situation;
  • your use of and satisfaction with community services and facilities that support your family and child; and
  • your participation in community events and activities and your general perception about your immediate neighbourhood.

You do not have to answer any questions about which you are uncomfortable. Also, if you do not wish to continue the interview you can withdraw at any time during the telephone call.

During the interview you will also be asked if we can link the interview data with NAPLAN (National Assessment Program-Literacy and Numeracy) information. This will provide further insight into children's learning and development.

For a short time after the interview, you will also be able to withdraw your responses by contacting the freecall number: 1800 443 135 (freecall from landlines, charges apply for calls from mobile phones). Once the researchers have received the de-identified data file, however, withdrawal will no longer be possible.

When the telephone interviews around Australia are done, the Social Research Centre will give all responses (without names or identifying information) to the researchers. It will not be possible to see which are your answers and which are someone else's.

The success of the study depends greatly on valuable information provided by families. Your participation is important.

Privacy is important

Information collected in this study will be kept confidential.

  • Any personal or identifying details will be removed from the data before it is passed on to the researchers at the Australian Institute of Family Studies and the Social Policy Research Centre.
  • The reports written for the study will not identify anyone who has participated. Only the overall data will be analysed. This means that the information you provide will not be linked to your name, or other personal details. This will protect your privacy.
  • All the researchers involved (at Australian Institute of Family Studies and the Social Policy Research Centre) and the interviewers from the Social Research Centre have signed confidentiality agreements.
  • Researchers must follow strict privacy rules when handling your information and securely store the information that has been collected.

The Australian Institute of Family Studies, which is managing the SFIA study, is a highly experienced research body with a history of respecting participants’ privacy and confidentiality. The Institute has been conducting research on issues that affect Australian families for over 30 years.

All the questions for the telephone interviews have been checked and approved by the Institute's ethics committee.

Further information

For further questions about the survey or SFIA, please contact the Social Research Centre on:

1800 443 135 (freecall from landlines, charges apply for calls from mobile phones)

Email the Social Research Centre