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Family Support

Family Support Program

Family Relationship Centres are a source of information and confidential assistance for families at all stages in their lives.

Centres have a focus on providing family dispute resolution (mediation) to enable separating families achieve workable parenting arrangements outside the Court system.

Whether you are going through separation, starting a relationship, want to make your relationship stronger, or having relationship difficulties, the Centres can help.

Sixty-five Centres have been established throughout Australia.

Funded by the Australian Government, the Centres are staffed by independent, professionally qualified staff offering confidential and impartial services in a welcoming, safe and confidential environment.

All the Centres have facilities for children and free internet access to help you find more information online. Many of the services are free or are offered on a sliding scale, according to your level of income.

Where families separate, the Centres provide information, advice, group sessions and dispute resolution to help people reach agreement on parenting arrangements without going to court.

Through providing information or referring you to services in your area that can help, the Centres can also help families strengthen relationships and deal with relationship difficulties.

The Centres also offer individual, group and joint sessions to help separating families make workable arrangements for their children without having to go to court. More information about the Centres and their Service Charter.

To find a Family Relationship Centre near you, click here for contact details or search by location on Family Relationships Online.


Central Highlands Community Legal Centre

Central Highlands Community Legal Centre is a not for profit organisation that provides free legal advice, casework, information workshops and legal education to people who live, work or study in the Grampians region. 

Local Government Support Services

The Golden Plains Shire Council and its community provide a range of services to support parents and carers who are raising children.

A range of a range of activities and services are available to families in the Shire. These services reflect the diversity of children's interests, abilities and needs, and supports parental involvement in play, learning and care.

While Council operates some activities and services, others are provided in partnership with, or solely by, state and federal governments, community organisations and private businesses.

The Child and Family Services Unit at Golden Plains Shire Council is dedicated to helping you. Please visit the sections relevant to your needs via the links below.

You can also contact the Child and Family Services team on 03 5220 7230.

Early Childhood Education and Care

Maternal and Child Health



Family Newsletters




Parentline Victoria

Contact Parentline Victoria on 13 22 89 - 8am to midnight 7 days a week

  • Parentline provides a statewide telephone counselling service to parents and carers of children aged from birth to eighteen years
  • Professional counsellors are able to explore a variety of issues that impact on parenting and relationships
  • Parentline can provide contact details for community services
  • Parentline respects the confidentiality and right to privacy of callers

'I often lack confidence in what I am doing so being able to talk with someone was really great for me. I did not feel put down or judged…'


Guiding Children's Behaviour

Most parents want their children to be calm, cooperative and treat others with respect. These behaviours can be at odds with the self absorbed nature of young children. However there are some things that parents can do to guide their children in the behaviours they would like, see: Guiding Children's Behaviour.


Single Mothers Parenting Resource


As a single mother, you may face tough times and parenting situations that many others don’t have to deal with.

The publication Single Mothers: a resource for parenting solo, offers practical tips for single mothers on adjusting to change, looking after yourself, helping your children cope, and building positive family relationships.

The experience of being a single mother is different for everyone. Acknowledging this the publication also includes stories and tips from single mothers in a variety of situations.

To read online or print out this new parenting resource, see: Single Mothers: a resource for parenting solo (PDF - 4 (pdf - 4.13mb)


Fathers Matter Parenting Resource

This publication offers practical information for fathers on bonding with your children, everyday fatherhood, rough and tumble play and parenting after separation, see: Fathers Matter Parenting Resource.


Dads in Distress

Dads in Distress offers peer support* that aims to provide help and hope for separated dads and their families.
You can talk with someone who has personally experienced separation... and discover what it might take for you to get through it!


DadsLink is a hands-on program that recognises the needs, importance, impact, value and challenges Dads face in their relationships with their kids.

Lone Fathers Association  

The Lone Fathers Association's  vision is to assist and encourage parents who have, or desire to have, shared parenting status or care of their children to support and sustain their children in a happy and viable family unit, and to help parents without shared parenting status to maintain adequate, positive contact with their children.




Education Programs

Ballarat Family Support Program

Centacare’s education programs aim to assist people to develop skills that foster positive relationships. Our programs cover relationships with children, partners, ex-partners, and other family members. We offer workshops and group programs on parenting babies, toddlers, tweens, and teens, as well as parenting after separation. We also offer women’s and men’s self-esteem programs, separation recovery groups, and positive communication programs.


Rural Women's Network


The Rural Women’s Network was established in 1986 to link rural women to a statewide network to share ideas, issues, information and support.

Over the years the Rural Women’s Network has provided a platform for women to share concerns and celebrate achievements.

It has also allowed women to have a more influential role in government decision-making through the establishment of reference and advisory groups on issues affecting rural and regional women.

In 1994 Victorian rural women convened the first International Conference for Women in Agriculture which was held in Melbourne and attracted over 900 attendees. The links formed through the Rural Women’s Network were a driving force behind other significant achievements over its 28 year history.

As part of the network’s commitment to forging connections in rural and regional Victoria, a newsletter, known as Network, was developed and launched in 1987.

The work of the Rural Women’s Network continues today through the Rural Women’s Network News, a quarterly e-newsletter.

The e-newsletter acknowledges the achievements of women living in rural and regional Victoria by sharing their inspiring stories and successes. It also provides updates on new government initiatives that impact on women.

Women across Victoria are encouraged to submit their stories for upcoming editions of the Rural Women’s Network News by emailing
Rural Women's Network News
Rural Women's Network News celebrates and acknowledges the achievements of women living in rural and regional Victoria by sharing their inspiring stories and successes.



Pit Stop - A Parenting Tune-up for Fathers

Dads play an essential role in raising their children.  This eight week course is engaging, fun and above all, practical. 

This course covers:

  • Why Dads matter to kids
  • Developing a healthy parenting style
  • Improving family communication and closeness
  • Steering your children through stressful stages
  • Disciplining kids without losing it
  • Balancing life, work and family
  • Working as a team (partner's evening)
  • Identifying and implementing change

You will leave each week with new tools and skills as well as a better understanding of how to be the best dad you can be for your sons and/or daughters, whatever their ages. Join a group of dads in a friendly, non-threatening atmosphere getting tuned-up together.

Entertaining multi-media presentation

Highly visual - good for new arrivals learning English

Practical insights, strategies and problem-solving

Relevant for Dads of babies through to high-school age children

Comprehensive practical manual included

Please call: 0432 439 943