Some people may find content on this website distressing. Read more
The Find & Connect website is changing soon Read more
Victoria - Archival Series

Ward Index Cards (1960 - 1986)

  • Ward Index Card (detail, de-identified)

    Ward Index Card (detail, de-identified), 1970s

Reference No
AS 1990/015
Legal Status
DHHS Reference Number

The Ward Index Cards, held by the Department of Health & Human Services, provide a summary record of all interactions of an individual child or young person with the Social Welfare Department (and its successor departments) from 1960 to 1985.


Access Conditions

Conditional Access - Care leavers (and their families) wanting to find information about their time in care, or access personal files can contact Care Leaver Records Service. When a former ward makes an application to the Department for access to their records, the staff in the Archives will start their search by getting the ward index card. They will then search for any records about you from the institutions listed on the ward index card.


Arranged in alphabetical order by client surname, these cards record:

  • name of child or young person;
  • date and place of birth;
  • religion;
  • date admitted;
  • reason for admission;
  • names of parents and siblings if known;
  • case allocation details;
  • court details such as date of attendance, offence, sentence, expiry of probation, parole and supervision orders; and
  • movement details including placements to youth training centres and children's homes, and discharge.

The Department first began to use index cards to control the records of clients (of or over the age of 14) in 1960. Prior to this, the Department used the system of the State Ward Registers to record information about children in its care. The client numbering system (ward numbers) dates back to 1864. Each child was allocated a number (in sequential order from 1 to 96,000) when they entered the care of the Department. These ward registration numbers were issued from the same sequence up until 1978, when the numbers reached over 96,000. From 1960, children were only allocated a ward number if they came into care aged under 14. Other children and young people were issued with a Youth Welfare Division (YWD) number - this happened if they turned 14 while in the Department's care, or they entered care for the first time at or after the age of 14. The numbering system changed in 1979, when ward numbers were replaced by the Family and Adolescent Services (F&AS) 4-digit number, and the youth Correctional Field Services (CFS) annual single number. These numbering systems were in turn replaced with the Statutory Client Information System (SCIS) in 1986 and the Client and Services Information System (CASIS) in 1992.

This series is described in the finding aid published in 2016 by the Department of Health and Human Services, 'Finding Records'. It has been given a Public Record Office Victoria series number: VPRS 16205/P0002.


Online Resources


Ward Index Card (detail, de-identified)
Ward Index Card (detail, de-identified)


Prepared by: Rosemary Francis