Get support

Community values and attitudes have changed over the years and historical records may contain language that would now be considered offensive or discriminatory.

Records may also present a different view of reality from the lived experienced. Some content might be surprising or hurtful, and potentially trigger painful memories.

To assist, all Victorian care leavers can  request the ‘supported release’ service offered by the Care Leavers Record Service.  If you left care before 1990, Open Place and CLAN also offer ‘supported release’.

This free service can provide assistance to access records available through the Department of Health and Human Services and other sources.

Support is then provided to:

  • Explain the records’ historical context
  • Discuss any potentially distressing content
  • Help interpret decisions that may have exempted any information
  • Submit further applications – if more records exist
  • Provide  access to counselling and identify other supports.

Other services available:

The online service Find and Connect provides information about the historical context of the child welfare system and offers links to support services. Find and Connect also provides information about non-government services that may also hold relevant records. Find and Connect and its Victorian support and advocacy service Open Place are funded by the Commonwealth and Victorian Governments.

Support for those who left care before 1990:

Forgotten Australians: Open Place
Suite1/8 Bromham Place, Richmond, Victoria, 3121
Telephone: 1800 779 379 or (03) 9421 6162

Care Leavers: CLAN
463 Chapel Road, Bankstown, NSW 2200
PO Box 164 Georges Hall, NSW 2198
Telephone: 1800 008 774

Both Open Place and CLAN also provide 'supported release' services. Each organisation is committed to providing a service that is sensitive to each individual’s needs, and respects their rights.

Support for Stolen Generations:

Link-Up Victoria is part of a national network of Stolen Generations services across Australia.

Link-Up Victoria, Victorian Aboriginal Child Care Agency (VACCA)273 High Street, Preston, VIC 3072.

Freecall: 1800 OUR MOB (1800 687 662)
Tel:  (03) 9480 7377
Fax: (03) 9484 5403

Support for recent care leavers:

Support for mental health clients:

The Victorian Mental Illness Awareness Council (VMIAC) provides phone advocacy in accordance with individuals' wishes - in particular for health services matters. VMIAC advocates also have extensive knowledge of other agencies (supports and services).

Telephone: (03) 9380 3900

Support for people with a disability:

    • TheFreedom of Information unit (FOI) is legally obliged to balance your right to receive information with other laws and guidelines that sometimes restrict the information you may receive. 

      We know this can sometimes be confusing or frustrating. 

      If FOI has deleted (redacted) anything from your records, you are entitled to know their reasons. The FOI staff can tell you themselves. Alternatively the people at FIND (Family Information Networks Discovery) can help you understand. 

    • In 2015 the Commonwealth circulated Access Principles for Records Holders & Best Practice Guidelines. All State and Territory Freedom of Information regimes were asked to make sure they do not hinder care leavers’ access to information about their childhoods and families. 

      The principles are consistent with Recommendation 16 of the Senate’s Forgotten Australians report. They say that: 

      “…you have the right to receive copies of all personal identifying information about yourself, your family, identity and connection; circumstances surrounding your placement in care; and details of your time in care. 
      “This includes information you need to establish the identity of close family members, including details of parents, grandparents, siblings (as well as half siblings, aunts, uncles and first cousins).”

    • The Freedom of Information Act 1982 (Vic), Part V– Amendment of Personal Records (sections 39-49), allows you to write to the record holder and request the amendment of a record concerning your personal affairs (or those of your next of kin). You can do this if the record is inaccurate, incomplete, out of date or would give a misleading impression. The record can be altered or a note added.  

Reviewed 30 April 2019

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