Last year’s conference of the Australian Society of Archivists featured a plenary session: Towards a National Summit – Setting the Records Straight for the Rights of the Child.
One of the presentations from this session is now available as a youtube video – Frank Golding’s ‘The Care Leavers’ Perspective’.
Frank took the opportunity to explain to the audience of archivists and other record holders what records mean to Care Leavers and to explore why the past cannot remain the exclusive property of the powerful. He emphasised the importance of records needing to be kept for all parts of a child’s life, not just for critical incidents, and also explained how Care Leaver’s can envy the childhood records that others take for granted e.g. birth certificates and birthday photos, as they often have none.
Frank discussed how Care Leavers look for ‘their’ file to explain why they were put in care, for their medical records, school reports and certificates and for information about their family. They see the archive, and records within, as a repository of hope. Many are disappointed, shocked and sometimes even re-traumatised with the, almost exclusively negative, records they discover.
I highly recommend you take the opportunity to listen to Frank’s full talk (11mins) below.