Find and Connect Service and projects

Following the November 2009 National Apology to Forgotten Australians and Former Child Migrants, the Australian Government announced funding of $26.5 million over four years for Find and Connect services.

The Find and Connect Support Services provide specialist trauma informed counselling; referral services; peer, education and social support programmes; assistance to locate and access records and reconnect with family members (where possible) for Forgotten Australians and Former Child Migrants.

The Australian Government has been working collaboratively with Find and Connect Support Services and organisations representing Forgotten Australians, Former Child Migrants and Care Leavers, state and territory governments, records specialists and non-government records holders to provide the service delivery model for Find and Connect.

This collaboration has achieved:

  • The delivery of a National Find and Connect web resource to help care leavers find records held by past providers and government agencies.  Records collections and organisations listed on the Find and Connect web resource is continually updated.
  • The delivery of a national network of Find and Connect Support Services including:
    • A national 1800 telephone number – 1800 16 11 09 for care leavers to call to make the initial ‘first steps’ to ask for support.
    • Specialised trauma informed counselling services for care leavers, from appropriately trained and skilled professionals.
    • Specialised records search and support services to provide practical assistance to care leavers.
  • Research into Freedom of Information, Privacy and Right to Information legislation and records practices;
  • Find and Connect indexing grants to assist past and current non-government providers index records to increase accessibility for Forgotten Australians and Former Child Migrants to their records;
  • An aged care information package has been developed by the Department of Health and is being prepared for distribution to aged care providers and key stakeholders. The package is expected to be released in early 2016.
  • Ensuring this dark chapter in Australia’s history is never forgotten through the:
  • Strengthened sector representation and support through funding for the Alliance for Forgotten Australians Incorporated (AFA), the Care Leavers Australasia Network (CLAN), the International Association of Former Child Migrants and their Families (the International Association) and Child Migrants Trust (CMT).
  • Establishment of the National Find and Connect Advisory Group, which provides a platform for national advice and communication between the Australian Government, state and territory governments, representative organisations, non-government organisations and service providers.
  • A set of national records access Principles and Guidelines for Forgotten Australians and Former Child Migrants, June 2015.

Find and Connect scoping study

The Department of Social Services (DSS) commissioned consultants (Encompass Family and Community Pty Ltd) in May 2010 to undertake an independent scoping study to recommend a model for the delivery of the Find and Connect Service. The scoping study is available on the DSS website.

The scoping study recommended several core components to make up the national Find and Connect Service including:

  • a national Find and Connect web resource and single online access point to help care leavers find records held by past care providers and government agencies;
  • a national 1800 telephone number for care leavers to call to assist with ‘first steps’ and referral to services which are able to respond to the needs of care leavers;
  • a national network of specialised search and support services to provide practical assistance and support to care leavers
  • counselling services for care leavers, from appropriately trained and skilled professionals.

These recommendations have been implemented beginning with the launch of the Find and Connect web resource on the eve of the second anniversary of the National Apology to Forgotten Australians and Former Child Migrants on15 November 2011.  The remaining core components of the recommendations were implemented with the launch of the National Find and Connect Support Services in August 2012.

Aged care information package

In November 2009, the Australian Government formally apologised to Forgotten Australians and Former Child Migrants, and responded to a Senate Committee report Lost Innocents & Forgotten Australians Revisited.

In the Government’s response to this report, there was a commitment to support the development and distribution of education materials to assist providers and carers in the aged care sector to recognise the special needs of Care Leavers (Forgotten Australians, Former Child Migrants, and Stolen Generations).

An information package, Caring for Forgotten Australians, Former Child Migrants and Stolen Generations, has been developed by the Department of Health and is being prepared for distribution to aged care providers and key stakeholders. The package is expected to be released in early 2016.

Inside: Life in Children’s Homes and Institutions travelling exhibition

An exhibition developed by the National Museum of Australia. Inside: Life in Children’s Homes and Institutions was also launched on 15 November 2011.

The exhibition then travelled across Australia and was staged in Melbourne, Fremantle and Brisbane and remains a perpetual online exhibition on the National Museum of Australia website at: Inside: Life in Children’s Homes and Institutions.

An education package for senior secondary students (Years 10 to 12) was developed to accompany the exhibition.  The unit of work was designed to ‘challenge secondary students to consider the experiences of Forgotten Australians and what those experiences tell us about society’, especially about childhood for disadvantaged children in Australia in the 20th century.

Oral History: You can’t forget things like that

The Department of Social Services (DSS) provided funding to the National Library of Australia to document in their own words the history of Forgotten Australians and Former Child Migrants.

An oral history project was recommended in two Senate Community Affairs References Committee reports Lost Innocents: Righting the Record - Report on Child Migration (August 2001) and Forgotten Australians - A report on Australians who experienced institutional or out-of-home care as children (August 2004).

The National Library of Australia has recorded over 200 people from all over Australia talking about their experiences in institutional care. The Forgotten Australians and Former Child Migrants Oral History Project project began in 2010 and concluded in November 2012. An oral history booklet was also developed and titled, You can’t forget things like that and is available for download at the National Library of Australia website.   

Find and Connect Advisory Group

The national Find and Connect Advisory Group formerly called the Find and Connect Consultative Forum was first established November 2011, to provide the Australian Government with advice on implementation and evaluation.  

The Find and Connect Advisory Group name was changed and new terms of reference accepted by the members in September 2014 reflecting the group’s key advisory role to Government on the policy of the National Find and Connect Service.  

The Advisory Group provides a platform for national advice and communication between the Australian Government, state and territory governments, advocacy groups, non-government organisations and service providers.

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