The Australian Institute of Family Studies (AIFS) started the 2018/19 financial year with a significant highlight – the successful 15th biennial AIFS 2018 Conference, which was held in July with the theme ‘What matters most to families in the 21st century?’. With record numbers of participants and presentations, the hugely positive response took us by surprise and in many ways created a benchmark of achievement for the rest of the year. It caused us to re-examine our stakeholder engagement, how we communicate our stories, and how we plan the activities around our research projects and events.
2018/19 was the third year of our Strategic Directions 2016–2020, a journey of transforming how we work at the Institute and with our partners, to ensure that our internal culture, capabilities and systems align with our aspirations to achieve ‘Excellence for Impact’. We reviewed our Strategic Directions this year and extended them to 2021/22. And there are signs that we’re making great strides towards realising our strategic goals of leading research in to family wellbeing in Australia.
Our focus this year has been to build on earlier foundational work, to ensure our research evidence is useful for policy makers and service deliverers, and ultimately to improve the lives of children, families and communities. We have worked hard to consolidate the gains of the first couple of years of our Strategic Directions and this year we began to see some acknowledgement for our effort in our ability to impact national discussion around key reform areas such as family law and domestic and family violence: the Direct Cross-Examination in Family Law report informed new legislation, and I was invited to participate in the COAG National Summit on Reducing Violence Against Women and their Children, a first for AIFS, recognising the important work we have done over many years in this field.
This report outlines the journey we’ve taken this year towards achieving our 2022 strategic goals.