The Catholic Children's Homes Enquiry Service was set up in 1994 by Centacare Adoptions Agency (which later became CatholicCare Adoption Services) to provide a centralised information, counselling and referral service for those people previously in Homes or looking for relatives who had been in a Catholic Children's Home.
Since the 1800s, the Catholic Church has cared for many dependent children in a wide variety of homes. These homes, while auspiced under the Catholic Church, were conducted by a number of different Catholic Orders. As the homes closed, the records were moved making it difficult for ex-residents to locate information.
Centacare saw the need to the establish a central register of the names of all the people who were residents of Catholic Children's Homes in the 1990s.
In 2011 Centacare changed its name to CatholicCare, although most internal structures remained the same. The work of CatholicCare staff, and the 2013 Records Access Documentation Project grant funded through Find & Connect, have enabled most of this indexing to be completed.
In 2018, responsibility for the Catholic Children's Homes Enquiry Service was transferred to Family Spirit, the new organisation created out of the merger of CatholicCare Sydney adoption services and Marist180.
Records of Catholic children's homes are often minimal, which reflects the record-keeping standards of the time. The service warns that, in some cases, it may not be possible to locate any records of a persons' stay in a particular home.
The response to CCH inquiries may also take a while, however the CCH states that it recognises that this is an important service for those searching for information about their personal history, or that of a family member and says it is committed to providing people who lived in Catholic children's homes with support and assistance. Verification of an applicants' identity will be discussed at the time an inquiry is made about records.
Sources used to compile this entry: Thinee, Kristy and Bradford, Tracy, Connecting Kin: Guide to Records, A guide to help people separated from their families search for their records [completed in 1998], New South Wales Department of Community Services, Sydney, New South Wales, 1998, https://clan.org.au/wp-content/uploads/2020/10/connectkin_guide.pdf; Email and attachment from CatholicCare, dated 2012-05-29, subject: Catholic Children's Homes List, held in the project files at the University of Melbourne eScholarship Research Centre.
Prepared by: Naomi Parry
Created: 4 March 2011, Last modified: 11 December 2018