In 2019/20 Australian families faced multiple challenges with the combined impacts of drought, bushfires over the summer and then the COVID-19 pandemic. These crises have placed major strains on family life, relationships and livelihoods.
Families have had to adapt to these external disruptions in order to supervise children doing remote learning while working from home; care for vulnerable family members during lockdown; support family members who have lost income, and cope with significant financial pressures and uncertainty.
Individuals look to their families for support every day and even more so during times of crisis. In these tumultuous times, families need a voice to convey their experiences and needs to the policy makers, practitioners and advocates who make decisions that affect families’ lives. More than ever, evidence based on ‘what works for families’ is necessary to ensure decisions are made that support families to do their job well.
Throughout this year, which has been defined by the pandemic, AIFS has demonstrated resilience, flexibility and innovation. Despite the challenges of being located in Melbourne and working from home for long periods during the successive lockdowns, the staff at AIFS have been incredibly productive. They have shown great agility in adapting projects to respond to COVID-19, assessing new opportunities and committing to uninterrupted delivery of a substantial program of work.