The Family Action Centre (FAC) is a practice, teaching and research centre working with families and communities in all their diverse forms.



The FAC is a national leader in fatherhood research, with a focus on fathers of young children and babies and supporting these fathers in their relationship with their partners.  Our other major area of research is Strong Families: Capable Communities. The Centre’s considerable research in these fields provides evidence for policy and service system innovations that better mobilise capabilities to improve individual, family and community outcomes.

Family Action Centre


More information available soon.


APRIL 2016

Download the Bulletin (PDF, 1.4MB)

Fatherhood Research Bulletin

Research & Evaluation Projects

Muswellbrook SF-CC

Through the collaborative commitment of local service providers and the support of a Collective Impact Facilitator this Strong Families-Capable Community (SF-CC) project will initially develop a Community Collective Impact Capability Plan, tailored to addressing the particular social issues in Muswellbrook. The project will implement a Collective Impact approach in Muswellbrook to demonstrate its utility in a community facing structural economic change and extend the evidence-base and learning for the approach.

SMS4Dads Project

SMS4dads is a two year feasibility study to develop and test a program sending text (SMS) messages to new fathers each week over the period before and after the birth. SMS4dads will also check in with dads at regular intervals to ask about their mood and fathering confidence. Those dads indicating distress or low confidence at any time will be linked to relevant information and support. This study is funded by beyondblue and Movember.

Stayin’On Track Project

Stayin' on Track, is a program designed to transition young Aboriginal men to fatherhood through a user-developed website, and will also test a smartphone app called Mood Tracker and Dad Tracker. Young Aboriginal fathers from Newcastle, Tamworth and Moree are co-investigators and have recorded their own stories on film to be used in the phone app.

Father-Inclusive Practice Guide

This report describes the recent evidence that explains how fathers may be relevant to the work of an agency such as Berry Street Inc. which provides family services to support parents to better care for and nurture their children.

Rough and Tumble Play

Physical play is an integral component of childhood. ‘Big body contact’ play in particular is considered significant for children’s physical and emotional-social development. Alternatively called roughhousing, horsing around, or play-fighting, rough and tumble is typical play between boys in the playground, but is also occurs between parents and their young children. Past, current and future projects in the Fathers and Families Research Program are aimed at understanding the nature of this play, its relevance to fathering, and how it contributes to children’s social, emotional, cognitive and physical development.

Text4Two – Strengthening parenting partnerships

The main aim and objective of this Project is to develop and evaluate a combined text and email-based information and support system that is focused on strengthening parenting partnerships. Text4Two will send no-cost (for consumers) text messages, and identical emails, containing practical co-parenting information and links, simultaneously to both parents from 6 weeks to 46 weeks following their child’s expected or actual date of delivery on the platform developed and tested through SMS4dads. This research service agreement is funded by Beyond Blue Limited.


A research service agreement with Children’s Health Queensland Hospital and Health Service. Children’s Health Queensland’s, The Queensland Centre for Perinatal and Infant Mental Health (QCPIMH) in collaboration with the University of Newcastle, Family Action Centre (FAC) are undertaking research in Queensland, that will trial a digital mental health promotion and prevention intervention for parents, who are at greater risk of experiencing emotional distress in the perinatal period (pregnancy and early parenthood). The project will develop, implement and evaluate the provision of information and mental health support, via the use of smart phone text messaging (SMS) to a targeted group of parents, with an infant less than six months of age. The research aims to recruit participants from two public perinatal mental health services and deliver SMS messages to this group of parents, in regional and rural areas in Queensland.

DSS Expert Panel

This work for Families and Children Expert Panel, relates to the provision of services to assist recently funded Children and Family Parenting service providers to improve their capacity to use evidence-based programmes and practices (EBPP) in Programme Planning and Programme Implementation.



Changing social constructions of family and the role of fathers, their contribution to parenting and involvement in the care and education of infants and children are accepted generally by professionals and the public and yet there remain major gaps in our understanding of fathering, and we lack effective ways in which to engage with fathers.

Researchers examining fathers, fathering or fatherhood are invited to contribute to a Symposium on Fatherhood Research in Australia to be held at the University of Newcastle, NSW on Wenesday 20th July 2016.

Download the Invitation (PDF, 60KB)