- Introduction: starting the journey
- Where do I start?
- Why are there files about me?
- How will I feel when I look at files about me?
- What is on the file about me?
- Where else can I go for information about me?
- Who can access records about me?
- Can I access other people's files?
- Have recordkeepers learned anything from the past?
- Getting help to find records about you
- Records Services
What to expect when accessing records about you
Getting help to find records about you
There are many different organisations that can help you find out information about your time in care in Victoria, locate and access any personal files that might exist, and give you support throughout the process.
If you are not sure where to start, or you do not want to contact a government agency or care provider directly and would like support from an independent agency, Open Place, CREATE or Link Up are there to help. Below are links to their websites with contact information.
- Open Place: Support Service for Victoria's Forgotten Australians - provides personal support, help with records and family searches, counselling, social activities, reunions, support groups, etc.
- CREATE Foundation - connects and empowers children and young people (25 years and under) who are now or who have been in out-of-home care.
- Link Up Victoria, Victorian Aboriginal Child Care Agency (VACCA) - assists Indigenous people, over the age of eighteen, who were adopted, placed in foster care, institutionalized or forcibly removed, to trace and be reunited with their families.
The Department of Human Services holds records relating to state wards in Victoria.
If you were a ward of the state in 1986 or earlier, as a starting point, contact
If you were a state ward after 1986, contact
- Corporate Integrity, Information and Resolutions Unit, Department of Human Services (also known as FOI)
There may also be records about you held by non-government organisations, if you were placed in a children's home, for example. Getting your ward file is a good way to start, as it contains information about your placements as a state ward.
If you were adopted, start by contacting
NOT a State Ward
If you were in care but were not a state ward, there will not be a file about you held by the Department of Human Services.
However, there may be records about your time in care that were kept by the care provider. See 'Other types of out-of-home care' below.
Other types of out-of-home care (wards and non-wards)
If you were in an orphanage, children's home, family group home, residential unit or any kind of out-of-home care, use Find & Connect to find the name of the care provider, and where any records are held.
You can use Find & Connect to Browse Organisations A-Z. Click on an organisation in the list to find out about the records - where they are, and how you can access them. (Note: Another way to find a organisation or institution is by typing the name of the organisation in the search box.)
Many former and current care providers have established heritage and information services to help former residents and their families locate and access records. This list of the major Records Services gives some idea of the number of organisations that provide access services to care leavers and their families (note: this is not an exhaustive list).
There are more support and advocacy services for care leavers and their families listed on our Support page.