Data on families are essential elements for the study of the well being of family groups and in this way for the study of the well being of individuals. They are a tool for assessing the type of and level of support to which a person has access. By defining the extended family as the central support network for individual, support which would not have been defined as accessible to the individual using the 'Household family' definition becomes apparent. It is important to recognise the 'family beyond the household' when examining types and levels of support available to individuals.Origin:
McDonald, P. 1995. Families in Australia: A Socio-Demographic Perspective. Melbourne: Australian Institute of Family Studies.Comments:
The 'household family' has been traditionally viewed as a building block of society and it is the predominant unit reported statistically and historically. However, the 'household family', since it is tied to the idea of co-residence, forms only a snapshot in time and refers only to related people who live in the same household at a point in time. Related persons who leave the central household live in other households may still participate in the lives of other family members they do not live with in a variety of ways, including financial, material, physical, emotional, legal and spiritual. For instance, frail older people may receive help from their adult children even though they do not live in the same household.
The definition for this glossary item differs from the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) standard. This is necessary because the ABS standard is based on household collection, which is not suitable, in many community services' areas. The community service definition needs to be broader to incorporate families that exist outside of households.
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