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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.

How to apply for your care records

The ‘Care leaver records access application’ can be used by people who have been in out-of-home care in NSW. You can download an application form here, or get a form at your local Community Service Centre.

You can lodge your application by:

  • Going to a Community Services Centre or support service

You can hand in your completed application form with a copy of your identification documents at your local Community Service Centre. They can also help support you when you read your records. You can find the address of your nearest Community Services Centre on this website.

There are a number of other services who can help you make your application, and provide different types of support once you have received your records. The section ‘Support when accessing your care records’ has more information about the kinds of support available. You can also call us on (02) 9716 2500 or 1300 137 160 to discuss finding a support service that meets your needs.

  • Email

Send your completed form and a copy of your identification documents to

CareLeaverRecordsAccessUnit@facs.nsw.gov.au

  • Post

Send your completed form and a copy of your identification documents to

Care Leaver Records Access Unit

Community Services

Department of Communities and Justice

Locked Bag 4028

ASHFIELD NSW 2131

You can have your records sent to a support service, another trusted support person, or directly to yourself. Records can be sent via secure email, or printed and sent by post. These options will be discussed with you when your records have been processed.

Searching for your records about your childhood can be challenging, and we recommend that you have someone to support you through the process. A list of support services is included with the application form.

Who can apply for care records

You can apply for your records if you were in the care of the NSW government agency responsible for child welfare as a child or young person. This includes being:

  • Made a state ward
  • In the care of the Secretary
  • Under the parental responsibility of the Minister or equivalent
  • Living in out-of-home care, such as foster care, kinship care, children’s homes and orphanages, or other institutional residential care
  • Under the parental responsibility of the Minister before being adopted

Information for young care leavers

If you are under 25 years old you can find information about accessing your care records, your life story work, and ChildStory information on the ChildStory YOU website.

If you were born after 1990, you may have been case-managed by a non-government organisation (NGO). This means that while you may have been under the Parental Responsibility of the Department, an NGO was responsible for your day to day management, including the records-keeping of your time in care.

In this case the Department may not hold records from the time when you were case-managed by an NGO, and you will need to contact them directly. However, if the agency that case-managed you is no longer in existence, we may have some of the records.

If you were in a non-government home or placement

If you lived in children’s home or other placements run by a non-government organisation, your records may be held by them. This means the Department cannot provide you with these records. You can use the Find and Connect website (www.findandconnect.gov.au) to find out where these records might be held and how to access them.

If you were not in out-of-home care

People may come into contact with Communities and Justice at different stages of their lives, and for different reasons. Care Leaver Records Access only processes the records of people who were in care in NSW as children.

If you are looking for records about yourself as an adult you can contact our Right to Information Unit (RTI). Please be aware that there are fees to access information through RTI. For more information visit the RTI website or call (02) 9716 2662

If you were adopted

If you are seeking information about yourself or another adopted person please contact the Adoption Information Unit (AIU). You can call them on 1300 799 023 or email  adoption.information@facs.nsw.gov.au

If you are looking for information about someone else

You can contact our Right to Information Unit (RTI). Please be aware that there are fees to access information through RTI. For more information visit the RTI website or call (02) 9716 2662

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Last updated: 12 Nov 2020