Find and Connect Service - Budget 2010-11

Key Elements

  • This measure will implement an Australia-wide, coordinated, family tracing and support service for Forgotten Australians and former child migrants seeking to locate personal records and reunite with members of their families, where that is possible.
  • It responds to the needs of an estimated 500,000 care leavers impacted by past abuses and serious neglect when in government institutions and other out of home care as children.
  • The National Find and Connect Service will provide:
    • a national website and single online access point to help care leavers find records held by past care provider organisations and government agencies, linked to state and territory indexes of records;
    • a national 1800 number as an alternate access point to assist care leavers who don’t have internet access;
    • a national network of specialised case managers to assist care leavers to locate and access personal records and where possible, reunite with family members. Case managers will also connect care leavers with counsellors and other support services where required; and
    • new counselling support services, specifically for care leavers, from appropriately trained and skilled providers to provide support for care leavers as they trace their families.
  • Priority access will be offered for care leavers who are aged or terminally ill.
  • This measure will also boost the expertise of the counselling sector to respond effectively to the needs of care leavers.
  • The final service delivery model will be designed in consultation with key stakeholders, particularly care leavers and their organisations, commencing May 2010.
  • The Commonwealth will work with the States and Territories and past care providers through this measure to:
    • build a national service that is responsive to the needs of individual care leavers and well-connected to state-based services for care leavers; and
    • address barriers to care leavers readily accessing their records, including archiving practices and freedom of information.

Background

  • This measure responds to the Senate Community Affairs References Committee report, Forgotten Australians and Lost Innocents Revisited 2009.
  • Australians who identify as Forgotten Australians are the survivors of the estimated 500,000 children who were placed in institutional or other out of home care in the last century.
  • It is estimated that 7,000 child migrants were sent to Australia last century and also placed in institutional care.
  • The loss of identity and connection with family is identified as one of the most traumatic and distressing outcomes for Forgotten Australians and former child migrants as a result of their experiences in institutional care.
  • On 16 November 2009, Prime Minister Rudd apologised to Forgotten Australians and former child migrants and announced a National Find and Connect service in addition to other new measures to meet their needs including:
    • improved access to aged care services through identifying care leavers as a special needs group for aged-care purposes and supporting providers and carers to provide appropriate and responsive care; and
    • funding for two history projects with the National Library of Australia and the National Museum of Australia to record and compile people’s experience of institutional and out-of-home care over the last century.
  • Implementation of the aged care measure and development of the two history projects has also now commenced:
    • From 2 December 2009, care leavers were included as a priority group under the Aged Care Act 1997 for the purposes of allocating aged care places. A National Education Package for aged care providers will be developed in 2010 in consultation with key stakeholders, to improve their knowledge and awareness of the needs of Forgotten Australians and former child migrants.
    • The National Library of Australia will complete their oral history interviews in 2010.
    • The National Museum of Australia visual history exhibition of the experiences of children in institutional and other out of home care in the last century will be officially opened in November 2011.

Implementation

  • The national Find and Connect Service will be implemented through a phased approach from July 2010, commencing with a scoping study and priority access to services for those who are aged or terminally ill.
  • The final service delivery model will be developed in close consultation with key stakeholders, including care leavers and state and territory governments, commencing in May 2010. The national website, 1800 number and case management services will be implemented as a priority.

Total Government Funding

  • $26.5 million over four years from 2010-11 to 2013-14.
Content Updated: 4 June 2012