You may have more than one record

Former wards of state and care leavers can potentially have three sources of records:

  • a central case management file 
  • a regional office file 
  • institutional records.

Central case management files

Most children or families who were assessed by the department had a central case management file. A person may have a file whether or not they spent time in institutional care, were a ward of state, or were not brought up by their parents. 

Central case management files were created for children who were:

  • brought up by relatives in accordance with custodial arrangements organised by the Children’s Court
  • placed in private foster care arrangements
  • adopted out through a non-government agency
  • placed in a private children’s home.

The department’s central case files reflect a person’s initial assessment, admission and movement throughout the government system of custodial care. The files generally do not contain information on people’s day-to-day circumstances.

Some examples of records compiled by the department are:

  • state ward index cards, 1966–78
  • ward registers, also known as the children’s registers
  • non-ward and state ward case files, 1961–66

Regional (suburban) office case management files

The department’s suburban offices, located in both metropolitan and country regions, created files for the families and individuals (adults or children) whose cases they managed. These files hold local case workers' notes and documentation, as well as copies of some central departmental file enclosures. Not all of the department’s regions transferred this category of records to head office once the files were no longer current or ‘active’. Therefore, only some suburban offices are represented, and these sequences of files are most likely not complete collections.

Institutional records

The guides to specific institutions only include client records that officially document each person’s experience within that institution. They capture the person’s case history, their participation in the institutions’ programs and activities, and their progression through the residential sections to eventual release back to the custody of their family or transfer to another centre. 

They detail the processes involved in the 24-hour monitoring of people in state care, and provide an assessment of each resident’s behaviour, as well as clinical notes on their physical and mental health. 

Examples of institutional records from the Allambie Reception Centre are:
  • child case history files, c.1973–90
  • admission and discharge registers, 1961–90
  • historical records: photographs, newspaper cuttings and ephemera, 1970–85.

For information relating to individual institutions, search the guide for the name of the institution, for example Turana Juvenile School / Remand Centre / Youth Training Centre, Royal Park, Parkville (1955–93).