As we come to the end of 2019, we want to thank everyone who has been involved in keeping Find & Connect up to date, including everyone who did usability testing on the website, those of you who sent in information about or photos of homes, and people who commented on the blog and engaged with us on Twitter.
A lot of our work has been behind the scenes this year as we do the groundwork for improving the site, but we wanted to update you on some of the things we’ve achieved over 2019 with your help.
Map of Children’s Homes
Developing a searchable map of children’s homes has been very important to many people who spent time in care as children – it helps where names are duplicated (there are many St Josephs), where people remember a location rather than a specific home, or where landmarks can determine where some-one spent part of their childhood.
The Map of Children’s Homes was launched in October 2019.
Earlier in the year a number of you participated in testing the Find & Connect site. We also had people who are unfamiliar with the site undertake usability testing so we could see the difference in the way new and experienced users approach the site. We’re planning some big changes based on your feedback to be unveiled in 2020.
Records Access Documentation Grants
Seventeen organisations were successful in this competitive grants round that was established to make more records more accessible to people who were in care. These organisations surveyed, indexed and catalogued records, making more records available, and the process of accessing the records faster and easier. See what was achieved in Recording RAD 2019
The work we do on the site isn’t always visible, but it means easier searching, easier navigation through the site, and making it easier to find information related to what you’re looking for. We’ve also made it more efficient to keep information up to date. We’ve done a lot of research that has resulted in 12 additional homes being added to the site, more than 50 additional photos, and more information.
We are about to publish a new page to help people understand the words, jargon and abbreviations that commonly appear on child welfare records such as ward files, and a new page that provides a brief guide to the different forms and models of care that have existed in Australia since 1788 until around 1989. Over time, the institutions were called different things, and children were accommodated in different ways.
Our most popular post of the year was about the British Child Migrants payment scheme. Two other notable posts were authored by people who had spent time in care as children: Records – files or the fabric of life?, by Greg Baker and Growing Up In Care by Wayne.
For an idea about christmas in care, you can read our post from last year.
There will be a final blog post for the year detailing the opening hours of the Find & Connect support services over the holiday season published next week.