First Anniversary of the national apology to the Forgotten Australians and former child migrants
To mark the first anniversary of the national apology to the Forgotten Australians and former child migrants, the Australian Government today released details of a new nationwide Find and Connect Service to trace personal and family histories and reunite family members.
One year ago the Australian Government acknowledged the abuse and neglect experienced by an estimated 500,000 children and 7,000 child migrants placed in institutional or out of home care in the last century.
For many Forgotten Australians and child migrants who grew up in care, the feelings of loss and abandonment have remained with them throughout their lives.
As children these people experienced terrible hardships and abuse – things no child should ever endure.
Last year’s apology, delivered on behalf of the nation, was an important step in the healing process.
The Australian Government committed $26.5 million in this year’s Budget to deliver the new national Find and Connect Service.
The service will help care leavers locate their personal files, piece together their past and, where possible, reunite with family members.
The Find and Connect Service will be launched in April next year. The Australian Government will advertise shortly to select a service provider to operate the new service.
The new Find and Connect Service will include:
- A national website and single online access point to help Forgotten Australians and former child migrants find their records held by past care providers and government agencies;
- A national 1800 telephone number for care leavers to call if they want to speak with trained staff to help them locate their personal records;
- Specialised Find and Connect workers in every state and territory to provide hands on assistance in locating and accessing personal records and, where possible, reunite with family members; and
- New counselling services specifically for Forgotten Australians and former child migrants, as they trace their records and families. Counsellors will be appropriately trained and qualified.
For the first time, care leavers will be able to access personal records and family tracing services in the state they live, regardless of which state they were in care.
Through the new service, we will also work closely with state and territory governments and past care providers to improve the indexing and availability of records.
Providing practical support to help people reconnect with their lost families is one way the Government can help heal the legacy of the trauma and loneliness of lost childhoods.
The Government today also released an independent scoping study which was commissioned to ensure the service would best meet the needs of Forgotten Australians and former child migrants.
The study included extensive consultations with Forgotten Australians and former child migrants, as well as state and territory governments, and past care providers.
The Australian Government will continue to work closely with states and territories, as well as Forgotten Australians and former child migrants, to ensure that Find and Connect delivers assistance to those who seek it.
The scoping study is available at www.fahcsia.gov.au