Care leavers guide

This page provides information to assist Care Leavers to locate and access records of their time in out of home care in New South Wales, and adoptees to locate New South Wales adoption records.

Records for care leavers

In the care of the State of NSW

The NSW Department of Communities and Justice administers access to the surviving records of care leavers, including former State wards and child migrants, who were in the care of the NSW government.

If you are seeking access to your own records and information, contact details can be found on the Department of Communities and Justice website.

If you are seeking access to records about someone else who was in and out of home care you will need to contact Department of Communities and Justice Right to Information Unit. For information about the kinds of records held by the Department of Communities and Justice holds please see the Department's website.

In the care of non-government organisations

The Find and Connect website brings together resources relating to institutional care across Australia. The website provides information about children’s Homes including images, location of and how to access records as well as details of support groups and services in each State/territory. The Find and Connect web resource induction pack provides a quick introduction to features of the Find and Connect website to users.

Records for past adoptees

The NSW Departmentof Communities and Justice also administers access to adoption records.

Services for Aboriginal people

We have brought together links to resources that can help you identify, access and use State archives that relate to Aboriginal people.

Aboriginal Affairs NSW Family Records Service

The Family Records Service at Aboriginal Affairs NSW assists people access surviving records of the former NSW Aborigines Protection and Welfare Boards relating to themselves and their families.

Link Up NSW

Link Up NSW works with Aboriginal people who were separated from their families as children. There are also Link Up services available in other States and territories.

Services for child migrants

Council of Australasian Archives and Records Authorities (CAARA)

The CAARA website brings together links relating to access to records held by Commonwealth and State archives relating to former child migrants.

Find and Connect website

The Find and Connect website provides information about past and present providers of out of home care, details of where personal records are held, where to access them and links to support services and other resources for Forgotten Australians and Former Child Migrants.

Support Services

Care Leavers Australia Network (CLAN)

CLAN is a support, advocacy, research and training network for people who grew up in Australian orphanages, children's Homes, foster care and other institutions. CLAN provides counselling and assistance to obtain records. See the CLAN website for more information.

Salvation Army Family Tracing Service

The Salvation Army's Missing Persons website provides details of agencies that can provide assistance and support for care leavers and former adoptees seeking to reconnect with biological family members.

Resources at NSW State Archives

While we hold records relating to care leavers we do not administer access to those relating to living persons. Access is provided and authorised by the government agencies (or their successors) that created the records, primarily the Department of Communities and Justice. This is to protect the sensitive personal information in the records. Government agencies have closed them from general public access and provide access to them on an individual basis.

20th Century child and youth migration

For an overview of the major sources held as NSW State archives that relate to child and youth migration and contact information for a range of support groups in Australia and the UK see our research guide Child / Youth Migration in the 20th Century.

Child care and protection records 1801-1912

For an overview of the major sources held as NSW State archives that relate to child care and protection in the period c.1801-1912 see our research guide Child Care and Protection.

Information on what is closed and open to public access at NSW State Archives

For information about what is closed to public access and what is open you can visit the Register of Access Directions. Access directions open or close records to public access and are made by the government agencies that created the records or their successors. The Register is arranged by the government agency responsible for the records.