More support for Forgotten Australians and Former Child Migrants
A new national network of support services will help Forgotten Australians and Former Child Migrants access counselling, trace their past and reconnect with family where possible.
The Minister for Families, Community Services and Indigenous Affairs, Jenny Macklin, today launched the network at Open Place in Melbourne, one of the organisations sharing in $10 million over the next two years to deliver these new support services.
These new national Find and Connect services will deliver:
- personalised support and counselling;
- assistance to obtain records, shed new light on personal histories and reconnect with family where possible; and
- connection and referral to other services such as aged care, health, housing and dental services.
An estimated 500,000 Forgotten Australians and 7,000 Former Child Migrants were placed in non-government homes, orphanages and other forms of out-of-home care last century, with many experiencing loss and feelings of abandonment that have remained with them throughout their lives.
As part of the national network, care leavers can now call a hotline to access these new specialist services.
The hotline number – free call 1800 16 11 09 – was chosen to represent the historic day of the National Apology to Forgotten Australians and Former Child Migrants, on 16 November 2009.
The hotline will be available from 9am to 5pm Monday to Friday, and callers will be directly transferred to the support service in their state or territory.
The historical record collection site, Ancestry.com, has also generously offered to provide Forgotten Australians and Former Child Migrants with free access to its Australian website, which holds more than one billion digital records.
Minister Macklin also launched a new DVD produced by the Alliance of Forgotten Australians, titled ‘Life Stories’.
The DVD tells the stories of six brave Australians who grew up in institutional care. Each story is different, but all share the trauma and loneliness that comes with lost childhoods.
These stories are confronting and honest, and will be an important resource for organisations who work closely with Forgotten Australians and Former Child Migrants.
These new services are part of the Government’s $26.5 million Find and Connect package, which includes funding for organisations to help people find their records, and the new web resource, www.findandconnect.gov.au.
The National Apology to Forgotten Australians and Former Child Migrants in 2009, delivered by the Australian Government on behalf of the nation, acknowledged the abuse and neglect that many experienced, and was an important step in the healing process.
These new services provide even more support to Forgotten Australians and Former Child Migrants, to help heal the legacy of the trauma and loneliness of lost childhoods.
Organisations delivering the support services are:
- Open Place – Victoria
- Lotus Place – Queensland
- Wattle Place (Relationships Australia) – New South Wales and the ACT
- Relationships Australia – South Australia, Tasmania and the Northern Territory
- Child Migrants Trust – Nationally
A tender process is currently under way to select a provider in Western Australia with services expected to begin in September.