Find & Connect is a network of support services based in each state and territory that provide support to people who spent time in care as children up until 1990 (Care Leavers, Forgotten Australians, Wardies and others). These services are provided in conjunction with FindandConnect.gov.au, which was developed both for support services to access information to support pre-1990 Care Leavers, and for people who were in care to use a resource for themselves.
Open Place was established by Berry Street in 2010 to be the Victorian Find & Connect support service. Following a tender process earlier this year, Relationships Australia (Victoria) will commence as the provider of Open Place on July 1 this year.
This blog post from 2017 detailed what people accessing the service could expect. Service users accessing Open Place are not required to follow a linear service path, with goals being achieved and then moving in to the next phase of “treatment”. Access to any of the Open Place services occurs at the discretion and decision of the Forgotten Australian. One may decide to pursue counselling before getting their records. Another may initially seek support for a housing application, then assistance with some medical costs before returning for their records. Another may gain their records and sometime later may return for counselling.
Open Place will continue to operate COVID19 business as usual, until restrictions have been lifted and it is safe to resume larger group activities. Relationships Australia Victoria will officially take over from Berry Street as the provider of Open Place on 1 July 2020 and more information will follow. Open Place looks forward to continuing to provide its suite of services to support Forgotten Australians under Relationships Australia Victoria.Siobhan McGuinness
Senior Coordinator, Records, Find and Connect
Relationships Australia provide a number of Find and Connect services around Australia, and have committed to a smooth transition for staff and clients of Open Place. You can read their statement here: https://relationshipsvictoria.com.au/resources/news/article/Open-Place-Announcement.