18 Years of the Family Wellbeing Program

18 Years of the Family Wellbeing Program

1993

The Family Wellbeing Counselling Training was developed in 1993 following a process of consultation with Aboriginal people in the Riverland, SA, many of whom were members of the Stolen Generations. Jane Nelson developed the program which ran strongly as part of the Aboriginal Education Employment Development Branch until 2001.

1996

On their ‘Heart to Heart Tour', the Gyuto Monks of Tibet spent three months in the desert with Aboriginal communities working on the Family Wellbeing Counselling Training, dealing with issues of non-violence and forgiveness.

1998

Family Wellbeing Counselling facilitators delivered the Family Wellbeing Counselling Certificate II for Tangentyere Council in Alice Springs in response to a cluster of suicides in the region in late 1997. A strength of the project was that the entire project staff, including the facilitators from Adelaide as well as the on-site co-ordinators in Alice Springs, were Aboriginal. The workshop was evaluated by social science researcher Komla Tsey as a participant observer. See: Tsey & Every (1998), Evaluating Aboriginal empowerment programs: The case of Family Wellbeing.

1999

Family Wellbeing Counselling Certificates II & III were offered through the Barrier Reef Institute of TAFE in Townsville, Palm Island, Bowen, Home Hill, Charters Towers, Airlie Beach and Ingham. 

2000

Dr Komla Tsey from University of Queensland introduced Family Wellbeing Counselling Training to the Yarrabah Men's Group in northern Queensland, describing the training as a 'community engagement tool' and an ‘action research method'. He also began to deliver Family Wellbeing Counselling Training in Dalby, Kowanyama and Hopevale.

2001

The Queensland Department of Education, Training and Employment recognized the Family Wellbeing Counselling Training with a Domestic and Family Violence Prevention Award.

Associate Professor Komla Tsey, University of Queensland, with multiple research partners formed the Family Wellbeing Empowerment Program and Participatory Action Research Team and began to implement a 10-year research program to investigate ‘empowerment' delivered by the Family Wellbeing Counselling Training. 

Gurriny Yealamucka Health Services Aboriginal Corporation in Yarrabah received $79,600 from the Department of Families and Communities to run the Family Wellbeing Counselling Training over 40 weeks. Ten members of the Yarrabah community were trained to facilitate Stage 1 of the training.

2002

The University of Queensland was awarded an NHMRC Grant of $82,940 for a project titled: Evaluation of Family Well-Being empowerment program: a follow-up study. The project followed up the 1998 evaluation of the Family Wellbeing Counselling Certificate II training in Alice Springs.

2003

The University of Queensland was awarded an NHMRC Grant of $487,920 for a 2-year project titled:  'Evaluation of Family Well Being Empowerment Program: a participatory action research initiative'. The project was a joint initiative between University of Queensland, Apunipima Cape York Health Council and Gurriny Yealamucka Health Services, and extended the existing Family Wellbeing initiatives in Hopevale and Yarrabah to two other north Queensland communities using a participatory action research process.

James Cook University, Queensland University and the Gurriny Yealamucka Health Service delivered the Family Wellbeing Counselling Training to a women's group, a men's group, a school, and a drug and alcohol rehabilitation centre.

2004

Nine inmates of the Alice Springs Correctional Centre graduated from Family Wellbeing Counselling training. 

The Department of Education, Training and Employment recognized the Family Wellbeing Counselling Training Course with a second Violence Prevention Award.  The Australian Crime Prevention Unit also made an award to the program.

The NHMRC funded two projects: ‘Indigenous Men Taking Their Rightful Place in Society: A participatory action research process' and ‘Empowerment and control as tools for understanding and addressing social determinants of indigenous health'.

2005

Certificate II in Family Wellbeing Counselling was implemented with Aboriginal students at the Gepps Cross Girls High School as part of a school retention plan. Known as the Nunga Miminis Wellbeing Program, it was introduced in Adelaide's north-western suburbs as part of the State Government $7.5 million Innovative Community Action Networks (ICAN) initiative.

The Ngangganawili (Wiluna, WA) Aboriginal Community Controlled Health organization negotiated the delivery of the Family Wellbeing Counselling Training as a leadership program for Aboriginal women as part of a Shared Responsibility Agreement with the Australian Government.

The Tasmanian Regional Aboriginal Counsellors invited the Australian Institute of Family Studies (AIFS) to develop training to equip Aboriginal people with the introductory skills for working in family and community settings. In response, AIFS presented information about the Family Wellbeing Counselling Training at forums held in Burnie, Hobart and Launceston.

The Queensland University Family Wellbeing Empowerment Program adapted the Family Wellbeing Counselling Training and piloted it as a leadership program in two schools in remote Indigenous communities in Far North Queensland.

Reports:    James Cook University         Closing the Gap

The University of Queensland was awarded an NHMRC Grant of $403,100 for a 2-Year project titled: ‘Empowerment as a strategy for wellbeing in Indigenous settings: developing tools to systematically evaluate outcomes, to develop a tool to measure the effect of Family Wellbeing Training'.

2006

Apunipima Health Council delivered Family Wellbeing Counselling training to 88 adults and 70 children in Hopevale and Wujal Wujal. This project was included in the Australians for Native Title and Reconciliation (ANTaR) showcase of successful Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health projects. The evaluation report may be viewed here.

The Tangentyere Council worked with the University of South Australia, Flinders University, Southern Cross University, Griffith University and Murdoch University to report on the empowerment aspects of delivering the Family Wellbeing Counselling Training in Central Australia.

The National Suicide Prevention Strategy awarded $1.5 million of Community-Based Projects Funding to James Cook University, University of Queensland, University of Southern Queensland, Queensland Health, the Royal Flying Doctor Service and Griffith University to conduct a 3-year project: ‘Building Bridges: Learning from the Experts'. As part of this project, Family Wellbeing Counselling Training was delivered to men's groups in four communities.

2007

The SA 'Rekindling Family Relationship' program was cited as an example of ‘Things That Work' in the Overcoming Indigenous Disadvantage: Key Indicators 2007 report  for 'assisting the Aboriginal community to resolve family violence and child abuse issues'.

The North Eastern Tasmania Family Wellbeing Course Shared Responsibility Agreement (SRA) between the North Eastern Tasmanian Indigenous Community and the Commonwealth and Tasmanian Governments provided $22,219 to establish a TAFE course for Aboriginal people to be trained as Family Wellbeing Counsellors to assist people affected by family violence.

A Suicide Prevention Grant supported Gurriny Yealamucka Health Service to deliver the Family Wellbeing Counselling Training in Yarrabah.

A research article entitled, ‘Empowerment-based research methods: A 10-year approach to enhancing Indigenous social and emotional wellbeing' concluded that the use of a long-term (10-year) community research strategy focussing directly on empowerment ‘demonstrated the power of this approach to facilitate Indigenous people's capacity to regain social and emotional wellbeing and begin to rebuild the social norms of their families and community'.

A Suicide Prevention grant was provided to Gurriny Yealamucka Health Services Aboriginal Corporation (Yarrabah), Yaba Bimbie Men's Group (Yarrabah), the University of Queensland and James Cook University to provide the Family Wellbeing Counselling Training to men's groups in Yarrabah, Dalby, Kowanyama and Hopevale.  Apunipima Aboriginal Health Council implemented the Family Wellbeing Counselling Training in Hopevale and Wujal Wujal, calling it ‘Just for Bama'.

The Family Wellbeing Training was introduced into the Queensland curriculum for Year 7 students as part of a program called 'Making My Way Through'.

The NHMRC funded James Cook University and the University of Queensland to implement and evaluate 'empowerment programs' such as the Family Wellbeing Counselling Training and men's groups in Yarrabah, Hopevale, Wujal Wujal, Kowanyama, Pormpuraaw and Dalby. See: http://www.healthinfonet.ecu.edu.au/health-resources/programs-projects?pid=106

The Growth and Empowerment Measure (GEM) was developed and validated to measure the changes that the Family Wellbeing Counselling Training promotes in people's lives. The GEM is delivered at the beginning of Stage 1 and again five to six months later.

2009

This Cooperative Research Centre for Aboriginal Health (CRCAH) paper presented the findings of the 2005 Family Wellbeing program evaluation in Yarrabah.

2010

Towards Social Sustainability: the case of the Family Wellbeing community empowerment education program. This paper presents findings from a synthesis of a phased series of papers and reports from evaluations of the Family Wellbeing (FWB) Program in Alice Springs since 1996.