Northern Territory Welfare Branch and successors
The series Fostering files with 'F' prefix consists of files relating to fostering and/or adoptions of children. The files were created to record information related to applications from prospective foster/adoptive parents. The files include a range of documents related to the process of fostering and adoption of children, including assessments, agreements, correspondence and legal documents.
Most government records in the Northern Territory are open for research 30 years after the end of the year in which the records were created. Some records, however, are subject to restrictions due to their sensitive or confidential nature. This is the case with many records related to children under the care of the government. These records are restricted for 100 years from the date of their creation.
To apply for access to closed records, you will need to write to the Northern Territory Archives Service. The government agency responsible for the records you wish to access will then consider the granting of access. This is done on a case by case basis. Please contact the Archives for assistance and further information about how to apply for access to closed records. A number of Fact Sheets for researchers are also available on the Archives website.
The files in this series were indexed during 2011-2014. The kind of information collected in each index includes: client name (including aliases and nicknames), date of birth, birth parent names, names of foster and/or adoptive parents, sibling names, names and locations of other institutions (Northern Territory or interstate - non government or church organisation, and other state welfare institutions or hospitals), other file numbers or references, and whether there are photographs on file.
Fostering files with 'F' prefix consists of files relating to fostering and/or adoptions of children. The files were created to capture applications from prospective foster/adoptive parents and may include assessments of the applicants, correspondence, file notes, approval or denial of applications, fostering agreements, copies of affidavits and birth parent consent documents prepared for legal adoptions heard in the Northern Territory Supreme Court. Annotations appear on the file when an adoption order was made by the court.
The files may include details of the baby or child to be fostered/adopted such as original birth name, date of birth, and birth mother name and/or birth father name. Sometimes files include correspondence regarding an external agency's role in the transport of infants to adoptive parents in the Northern Territory with the cooperation of the Welfare section. The major external agencies include the New South Wales and Victorian branches of the Catholic Adoption Agency and the Kate Cock's Memorial Babies Home in South Australia.
Files also contain details relating to the movement of children from or to other states which may be for the purpose of relocation to interstate foster parents or transfer to welfare, medical or community institutions. In some cases the files contain records of the transfer of guardianship of a child from the Northern Territory to another state. In other cases the files contain records of children who may have been placed for adoption with parents who later relocated to other countries (including Great Britain, USA, The Netherlands/Holland, and New Zealand) or children brought in from other countries (including Vietnam, China, and Sri Lanka) to be adopted in the Northern Territory. Up to 1974, the Northern Territory arranged for and placed children to be adopted by parents living in Papua New Guinea.
Later files may also contain divorce and custody matters decided under the Family Law Act 1975. In these cases, the Welfare Division sometimes paid for counselling and kept a copy of the proceedings on file. File no. F1747 includes the 1979 policy and procedures relating to Northern Territory adoptions.
Sources used to compile this entry: Guide to Archives Relating to Aboriginal People, Northern Territory Archives Service, Northern Territory Government, 8 April 2010.
Prepared by: Karen George and Gary George
Created: 27 August 2012, Last modified: 10 December 2014