The amount and type of information contained on these files varies depending on the circumstances of the individual case and the time period in which the client was in care. Files mostly contain identifying information, such as name and date of birth of the child, names and addresses of parents or guardians, names, ages and location of siblings, as well as information about the reason for the child's placement. Files may also, but not necessarily, contain school reports, medical reports, photographs, letters from family members, court reports (if relevant) and case notes including placement history. In the past, many of the children in Burnside's care were placed there voluntarily. However, in the last ten years clients have been primarily State wards.
Files up to 1990 have been microfilmed. The original microfilm is held at the Government Records Repository, and a copy is kept at Burnside with the Aftercare Secretary. Files that have not been microfilmed are stored at their respective regional centre for two years after the client's discharge. After these two years, the files are sent to Burnside's North Parramatta office where they are boxed and transferred to the Government Records Repository for storage.
Quantity: 150 microfilm reels and 198 boxes of files
Burnside is committed to an open file policy with as few restrictions as possible. Access by a client to their file will be given as readily as possible and in a manner which takes into account the needs and best interests of the client.
Files will only be available to the client whose name appears on the front of the file, except where a client is deceased. Where a client is deceased, the file will be shown to the next of kin when such an applicant supplies a death certificate of the deceased and evidence of next of kin relationship. In the case of adopted persons who are past or present clients, the provisions of the NSW Adoption Act 2000 apply.
In the case of current substitute care clients, access to files is supervised by the appropriate unit coordinator or foster care caseworker. In the case of past clients, access to files is through the Aftercare Coordinator or Aftercare Secretary. Requests for access should be accompanied by an identification document (e.g. Birth certificate, driver's licence). As a file may be stored off site or on microfilm, clients will need to allow for some delay in gaining access. The way in which access is given will be determined by the Aftercare Coordinator.
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, http://nma.gov.au/blogs/inside/files/2011/02/connectkin_guide1.pdf.
Prepared by: Naomi Parry
Created: 10 August 2011, Last modified: 10 March 2014