Stepfamilies today are as diverse as our communities and increasingly part of Australian family life. It is currently estimated that one in five families is a stepfamily.
Who We Are
While biological families have family trees, stepfamilies have family forests!
We know that when people have kids, re-partner, settle into new routines and bring up kids between a number of households things can feel rather chaotic at times!
That doesn’t mean that stepfamilies can’t form strong healthy bonds, renegotiate relationships and bring up healthy happy children. In fact Stepfamilies are one of Australia’s fastest growing family types, and we are proud to support and resource them.
There were an estimated 99,000 step families with resident children (under 18 yrs) (ABS, 2010). That’s approximately 4% of all families, and 91,000 blended families* with resident children (under 18 yrs) in 2009-10 (3% of families with children under 18).
Stepfamilies Australia is committed to strengthening the bonds of step and blended families. Our vision is to inspire a society that recognises, values and supports these families equally with other family forms to achieve their highest potential.
We provide assistance to families where one or both partners come together with children from an earlier relationship, who may be considering or already have formed together to live in a stepfamily situation.
Some people contact us for information and support before they’ve made the leap into stepfamily living, and some have been doing a great job for years but may have hit a wobbly patch and need some extra help.
(*The ABS Blended Family definition is: one with a resident step child(ren) but also one or more biological or adopted child(ren) of both parents.)
“We have relied on support from Stepfamilies Australia at the key times we needed it over the years. When we first got together and had some challenges with former partners and changes, then again when we became a blended family and finally when the teenagers tried to take over the family! We wrestled back control and learnt to parent differently – but it wasn’t easy at times! Thank for the support and acknowledging our unique challenges”
All families need information, education and support, but whilst resources for biological families are available in the community, services often fail to address the unique differences associated with stepfamilies, such as the different histories and expectations of family members, children who may be members of two homes, child support obligations and parenting arrangements that often strain new relationships.
Stepfamilies Australia works for social inclusion of stepfamilies.
So we aim to:
- Develop better community recognition, understanding and acceptance of step and blended families
- Strengthen stepfamilies to reduce higher rates of stepfamily breakdown and youth homelessness
- Work with the government and service delivery sector to build capacity to strengthen stepfamilies.
Stepfamilies Australia works as a catalyst, adding value both to the family relationship sector and other support sectors working with children, young people and families. The innovative work of it’s members helps break down myths and assumptions about stepfamilies and aims to send a message to the community that while stepfamilies are complex and hard work, they are achievable with support.