The Stronger Relationships trial is part of the Department of Social Services’ (DSS) Families and Communities Program that seeks to support families and improve children’s wellbeing by providing $200 subsidies for up to 100,000 couples to access relationship education and/or counselling services.
The aim of the trial is to increase the number of couples who participate in education and/or counselling to help strengthen their marriage or relationship. It will run from 1 July 2014 to 30 June 2015.
Couples can register for the trial but both persons must be:
• in a committed relationship;
• Australian citizens, permanent residents or otherwise eligible to receive social security payments in Australia; and
• 18 years or older.
In order to qualify for the $200 subsidy, couples must choose from a service provider listed on the DSS website, www.dss.gov.au/strongerrelationships.
Counsellors and relationship educators can apply to be a service provider if they are existing Family and Relationship Services providers, or a not-for-profit provider that already offers education or counselling services to at least 100 couples per year.
Service providers must ensure that personnel providing counselling and education services possess current membership to a recognised professional institution including, but not limited to:
• the Australian Counselling Association;
• the Australian Register of Counsellors and Psychotherapists;
• the Psychotherapy and Counselling Federation of Australia;
• the Australian Association of Family Therapy;
• the Australian Psychological Society;
• the Marriage and Relationship Educators’ Association of Australia;
• the Catholic Society for Marriage Education; and
• the Australian Association of Social Workers (AASW). For the AASW, personnel need only show evidence of eligibility for membership.
Although payment of the education and/or counselling service will remain the responsibility of the couple to the service provider, the couple will receive a $200 reimbursement of the total service fee.
Applications for the trial opened 19 June 2014 and will remain open until 31 March 2015.
For further information about the trial and the application process, read the operational guidelines here.