Throughout 2019 we will be highlighting projects funded by the RAD (Records Access Documentation) Grants.
Records relating to Care Leavers have not always been viewed with the same importance that they are now. Many were put into boxes and packed away, out of sight, out of mind. Some were destroyed purposefully, some damaged by poor storage or disasters such as fires and floods.
As organisations amalgamated or stopped providing ‘care,’ records were moved from place to place, not recorded and sometimes even forgotten. Organisations completing record surveys can find all sorts of information they were aware of and hadn’t had the capacity to document, or weren’t aware of at all.
As a result of this, in the RAD2 grants, we were able to include homes on the site that were previously unknown to us, as well as records that were not previously available.
UnitingCare Queensland holds early records from out-of-home care services established by The Methodist Church and the Presbyterian Church. In their first RAD-funded project, they were able to locate and document the contents of boxes of records that were held in various places throughout Queensland. Boxes of mixed records that were previously unknown were also located in this initial survey.
These newly located records form the basis of a new RAD funded project that will allow Care Leavers to receive more information, faster, when seeking records about their time in ‘care’.
UnitingCare Queensland will now be able to comprehensively document and index all of the records located in their initial survey, providing more information to Care Leavers trying to understand their time in ‘care’ and being able to do so much faster than they have been previously. Whilst not all this work will be undertaken during the funded period, training is being provided to ensure that work will continue until this work is complete.
RAD funding provides the capacity for organisations to work on their records, at the same time providing information and support on providing better accessibility, and challenging record holders to provide new information in different ways to Care Leavers. Records that have been packed away and remain undocumented cannot be accessed. RAD Grants get these boxes off the shelves; their contents become known and from there, easily found, meaning that record holders can provide the best access they can to the people these records are most important to.
UnitingCare Queensland is located in Queensland.
Find out more about UnitingCare Queensland at: https://www.findandconnect.gov.au/ref/qld/biogs/QE00425b.htm