Accessing your care records
If you lived in out-of-home care as a child or young person you can request a copy of records about your care history. This page tells you how to apply for your records, what to expect when you apply, and how to access support.
Applying for and reading your care records can bring up a lot of emotions, even if you left care a long time ago. These feelings may sometimes be distressing or difficult, and have impacts on your wellbeing and relationships.
We recommend that you have someone to support you through the process of accessing your records. Support services can help you make your application, read through and understand the information in your records, and may provide counselling and other assistance.
If you need support right now
The following services are available 24/7 from anywhere in Australia
Professional counselling for people who are affected by suicide.
Support when accessing your records
Community Service Centres
If you live in NSW, you can access your records at a Community Services Centre. A caseworker will be able to help you read your records and answer questions, and provide other support. Aboriginal care leavers may request the support of an Aboriginal staff member or support service when accessing information. You can find a list of Community Services Centres on this website.
Find and Connect
The Australian Government funds the national Find and Connect services. Find and Connect has offices in all States and Territories, and can help you to apply for your records and access support in your local area.
Find and Connect Support Services provide specialist trauma informed counselling, referral services, peer, education and social support programs, assistance to locate and access records and reconnect with family members (where possible) for people who were placed in out-of-home care in Australia.
The Find and Connect Web Resource is a resource for people who were placed in out-of-home care in Australia and anyone interested in the history of child welfare in Australia. It brings together historical resources relating to institutional ‘care’ in Australia. It contains information and images of children’s homes, help to find records about a person’s childhood in ‘care’, and information about support groups and services.
Wattle Place - NSW Support Service
Wattle Place provides counselling and a range of other support for people who are over the age of 25 and were in out-of-home care in NSW between the 1920s and 1990s, regardless of where they now live. Wattle Place can provide advice and support on accessing records about your time in out-of-home care.
Phone: 1800 663 884 (free call)
Care Leavers Australasia Network (CLAN)
CLAN is a national, not-for-profit advocacy organisation for care leavers of all ages. CLAN provide information, advocacy, telephone support, referrals and assistance with reading files.
Phone: 1800 008 774 (free call)
Support for young care leavers
If you have recently left care you can ask the agency that managed your out-of-home-care if they can support you with applying for and reading your records. You can also contact one of the following support services for assistance.
Aftercare Resource Centre (The ARC)
The ARC is a service for young people aged between 15 and 25 years old who have been in out-of-home care in NSW. They can provide therapeutic reading of your records as well as help with your application.
Phone: 1800 656 884 (free call)
Aboriginal Aftercare State Wide Service
Leaving care and aftercare support for Aboriginal children and young people aged 15-25 years who have been in out-of-home care.
Phone: 1300 339 016
Uniting ACE Aftercare
Aftercare support for children and young people 15-25 years who have been in out-of-home care.
Phone (general): 1800 864 846 (free call)
Phone (Illawarra and Shoalhaven): 02 4220 1127
Phone (Mid North Coast): 02 6581 6600
Phone (South Western Sydney): 02 9768 6888
CatholicCare After Care Program
Aftercare support for 18 to 26-year-olds who have been in out-of-home care at some stage in their lives. Available in Newcastle, Lake Macquarie, Maitland, the Upper Hunter and Manning areas.
Phone: 02 4979 1120
Family Spirit Aftercare
Available in South Eastern Sydney areas.
Phone: 13 18 19
Other support services and resources
Link-Up (NSW) Aboriginal Corporation
Link-Up NSW works with Aboriginal people over the age of 18 who were separated from their families when they were children. Services provided by Link-Up NSW include reunification and counselling.
Phone: 1800 624 332
NSW Special Search Service
The NSW Special Search Service provides free specialised national and international search and reunion services to people who were separated by government intervention in NSW, for example through adoption, being under the care of the Minister, foster care, or being placed in a children’s home in NSW. It is provided by qualified professional Social Workers experienced in delivering discreet and supportive tracing and reunification services.
Phone: 1300 657 843 (cost of a local call) or (02) 9267 0300
Email:firstname.lastname@example.org Website: www.iss.org.au/our-services/nsw-special-search-service
Aboriginal Affairs Family Records Unit
Aboriginal Affairs operates the Family Records Service (FRS) to help Aboriginal people in New South Wales to access records pertaining to themselves, or their ancestors, that are held in the archive collection of the former Aborigines Welfare Board (formerly known as the Aborigines Protection Board) and the Chief Secretary records relating to Aboriginal affairs. The records span the period from 1890 to 1969.
Phone: 1800 019 998
Stolen Generations Reparations Scheme and Funeral Fund
The Stolen Generations Reparations Scheme provides ex-gratia payments to living Stolen Generations survivors who were removed from their families and committed to the care of the NSW Aborigines Protection or Welfare Boards. The payments are made in recognition of the harm that these removals caused. There is also a fund to assist with funeral payments. The closing date for applications will be 30 June 2022.
National Redress Scheme
The National Redress Scheme helps people who have experienced institutional child sexual abuse gain access to counselling and psychological services, a direct personal response, and a monetary payment. Applications can be made from 1 July 2018 until 30 June 2027.