A suite of Find and Connect services and projects is being implemented through a phased approach to improve access to family tracing and support services for Forgotten Australians and Former Child Migrants. The Minister for Families, Housing, Community Services and Indigenous Affairs announced funding of $26.5 million for Find and Connect in the 2010-11 Budget.
FaHCSIA commissioned consultants (Encompass Family and Community Pty Ltd) to undertake an independent scoping study to recommend a model for the delivery of a new Find and Connect service. The scoping study is available on FaHCSIA’s website.
The core components recommended for a Find and Connect service included:
- a national Find and Connect web resource and single online access point to help care leavers find records held by past care providers and government agencies;
- a national 1800 telephone number for care leavers to call to assist with ‘first steps’ and referral to services which are able to respond to the needs of care leavers;
- a national network of specialised search and support services to provide practical assistance and support to care leavers; and
- counselling services for care leavers, from appropriately trained and skilled professionals.
On 22 January 2011, FaHCSIA advertised for service provider(s) to operate the new national Find and Connect service. Applications closed on 28 February 2011.
Four applications were received and an expert panel assessed the applications. No applicant was assessed by the panel as demonstrating the capacity to deliver all the elements of the national Find and Connect service. The Minister for Families, Housing, Community Services and Indigenous Affairs decided not to award a contract.
In response to the unsuccessful tender, the Minister reaffirmed the Australian Government’s strong commitment to support Forgotten Australians and Former Child Migrants through Find and Connect funding.
Throughout 2011, FaHCSIA has been working collaboratively with care leaver organisations, state and territory governments, records specialists and non-government service providers to develop a new service delivery model for Find and Connect.
To date, this collaboration and funding by the Australian Government has achieved:
- Prioritising of Forgotten Australians and Former Child Migrants for aged care through amendments to the Aged Care Allocation principles and ongoing development of an education pack and DVD to raise awareness about their needs with aged care service providers, allied health professionals and GPs.
- Strengthened advocacy and support through enhanced funding for the Alliance for Forgotten Australians (AFA) and the Care Leavers Australia Network (CLAN) and new funding for the International Association of Former Child Migrants and their Families.
- Expanded services nationally for Former Child Migrants through additional funding for the Child Migrants Trust.
- Ensuring this dark chapter in Australia’s history is never forgotten through the:
- exhibition developed by the National Museum of Australia: Inside: Life in Children’s Homes and Institutions launched by the Minister on 15 November 2011. It is anticipated that this exhibition will tour nationally in 2012 and dates and locations will be provided once made public by the National Museum of Australia. An education package for senior secondary students (Years 10 to 12) has been developed to accompany the exhibition and distributed to all secondary schools in Australia.
- Continued development of the oral history project by the National Library of Australia, due for completion by the end of 2012.
- Delivery of a national Find and Connect web resource to help care leavers find records held by past providers and government agencies. The web resource will continue to be populated with information provided by care leavers, service providers and state/territory-based historians.
- Establishment of the National Find and Connect Consultative Forum, to provide the Australian Government with advice on implementation and evaluation.
With the support and guidance of the National Find and Connect Consultative Forum, work will continue throughout 2012 to continue the implementation of the Find and Connect program.
In 2012, new and enhanced records tracing and counselling services will be funded, complemented by a 1800 service to facilitate care leavers’ streamlined access to the services they need. The education programs through the Alliance for Forgotten Australians and the Department of Health and Ageing will be implemented with a priority focus on improving the knowledge and skills of service providers supporting elderly care leavers. The Find and Connect web resource will continue to be populated with input from care leavers, service providers and state/territory-based historians. A strong focus is being placed on improving the availability of personal records which are critical for care leavers to trace their identities and families.
- Care Leavers
- 16 November 2009 - National Apology to Forgotten Australians and former child migrants
- 11 June 2011 – Media release - Reconnecting Forgotten Australians and Former Child Migrants with their families
- 15 November 2011 – Speech – Minister Macklin’s address to open the exhibition Inside: Life in Children’s Homes and Institutions to mark the 2nd anniversary of the National Apology, National Museum of Australia, Canberra
- 15 November 2011 – Media release – 2nd anniversary of the National Apology
- 15 November 2011 - Doorstop, National Museum of Australia, Canberra
- Visual History Project - Inside: Life in children’s Homes and Institutions – National Museum of Australia
- Visual History Project - Educational materials – National Museum of Australia
- Oral History Project - National Library of Australia
- Find Connect web resource