The Support Service Series showcases Find & Connect Services in each state. Here you can get an idea of what happens after you contact a service, their contact details, some information about them, and what to expect when you apply for records.
Wattle Place has been operating for over 7 years (services for Care Leavers has been operated by Relationships Australia NSW since 2003). During this time we have helped thousands of Care Leavers with support and assistance. Many people require different support depending upon their needs and requirements at the time.
Wattle Place runs a variety of services to assist Care Leavers. The Find and Connect service can assist with record tracing, supported records release, counselling and family tracing. Our two state funded services can also provide assistance with these same areas but they also have a brokerage program to help people who were in care in NSW institutions, and also run a variety of social and educational groups. We also have a Royal Commission support service which can help those people impacted by the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse.
Once some-one has made contact through the Find & Connect website, we will get in touch to gather basic information from them to determine which services they may be eligible for. We will then send out our initial paperwork forms for them to complete to give us authorisation to work on their behalf. If we are unable to assist the enquirer we will refer them onto other services which may be able to help them with their particular enquiry.
We source records through the information provided on the Find and Connect website and through our contacts in the record holding services in NSW. Supported access to records is very important as it can often be distressing to access records alone as some people may be unprepared for the information to be found, or not found, in the files.
People can be very distressed by the redaction of information in their files and records as this can make it hard to understand events and details of the care history. Not knowing what may have been redacted and why also makes people suspicious of what may have been omitted from their files. Privacy legislation requires that redaction happens for third party information but the explanations of why it has happened in particular instances could be explained in much clearer and simpler terms. The lack of consistency between differing agencies over redaction also makes is harder to understand why it is necessary.
In most instances we are usually able to find some records for people but the quantity and comprehensiveness of the records can vary greatly depending upon the home in question, the record holder and the time period in which the placement took place. For those with limited or redacted records even basic dates and time frames can help build a time line or chronology of their care history which can be of assistance. Many people find it positive to become part of the Wattle Place community and connect with other individuals with a similar care history. We can also help people keep updated on Care Leaver news and topics such as progress with redress schemes and upcoming social events.
To contact Wattle Place, call 1800 663 844, or the national Find & Connect number: 1800 16 11 09, or send a message through the Find & Connect mailer page (link)
–thanks to Jeremy Palmer for authoring this post.