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Workplace program helping separated Dads at home and work.



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Workplace program helping separated Dads at home and work

05 October 2006

Employers who are serious about doing something about the ill-effects of personal separation in a workplace setting have an opportunity to do something.

Staying Connected , a workplace program developed by the Child Support Agency specifically to support fathers going through separation, is now available nationally.

Minister for Human Services, the Hon Joe Hockey, MP, said staff turnover, absenteeism, lost productivity and workplace accidents have all been linked to the trauma of separation.

"Every workplace in Australia feels the effect of relationship breakdowns," Minister Hockey said. "On average, one person in every 15 employees goes through a separation each year."

"Separated dads from the Melbourne Fire Brigade, Victoria Police, Australia Post, Urban Services ACT, Department of Defence, and the mining community in Kalgoorlie have already taken part in the program."

"The three-hour workshops help men stay positively involved in their children's lives and reduce the impact of separation on them and the children."

Staying Connected was evaluated by Macquarie University 's Dr Graeme Russell, an international expert on men, work and fathering and is delivered by community-based organisations trained by the CSA.

Before-and-after workshop research conducted by Dr Russell showed more than half of the dads who attended subsequently felt better able to form a practical relationship with their ex-partner - for the sake of the children.

Deputy Chief Fire Officer from the Metropolitan Fire Brigade in Melbourne , Keith Adamson beli eves Staying Connected has made a huge difference through less family-related time off work and healthier relationships with colleagues.

Brisbane divorcee Brendan Spann - who works for Austral ia Post and has a 12 year-old son with his ex-wife - credits Staying Connected with improving his career and his personal life. He now has a new partner and is engaged to be married to her later this year.

" Staying Connected came along when I was going through my divorce, and depression was causing

M E D I A R E L E A S E

me to take time off work," said Brendan.

"The program helped me see things from a different perspective, communicate better with my ex and showed me ways on building a business-like relationship with her," he said.

For many of these men, it is the first opportunity they've had to share their story with other dads.

"It's good for the whole workplace that employers are recognising how separation affects employees and are doing something to help," Minister Hockey said.

The program won gold in the prestigious Prime Minister's Award for Excellence in Public Sector Management - the highest accolade in the government sector.

Employers interested in Staying Connected should e-mail stayingconnected@csa.gov.au.

Media contact CSA (02) 6272 8540

Macquarie University contact Dr Graeme Russell 0411 330 399

Australia Post media contact Lea Jaensch (03) 9204 5362

Metropolitan Fire Brigade Deputy Chief Fire Officer, Keith Adamson (03) 9665 4355