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AIFS is a Melbourne‑based statutory agency of the Australian Government, established in February 1980 under the Australian Family Law Act 1975.

A non-corporate entity, AIFS is a portfolio body within the Department of Social Services (DSS). We also have close links with the Attorney‑General’s Department (AGD), the Department of Education, the Department of Human Services (DHS), the Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet, the Department of Defence, the Department of Veterans’ Affairs (DVA), the Department of Health and other Australian Government portfolios, their departments and agencies. Our staff are employed under the Public Service Act 1999. At 30 June 2019, 104 people were employed at the Institute, excluding the Director.