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Forgotten Australians Working Group Forum

Last week, the Centre and “Forgotten Australians Report” Working Group hosted a forum titled Access to Personal Records: Developing Best Practice.

The forum set out to:

  1. further improve practices around the handing accessing of the personal records of people who have left care
  2. encourage all parties represented on the Forgotten Australians Working Group to collaborate on meeting the needs of people who have left care
  3. assist members of the Centre for Excellence in Child and Family Welfare to implement best practice in creating and maintaining records of children and young people currently in care

Joy Patton and Shannyn Ashley-Griffiths from the Victorian Ombudsman’s office delivered a presentation on their 2011 Report into the Storage and Management of Ward Records. Shannyn was the chief investigator throughout the inquiry, and answered questions on the Department’s ongoing responsibilities to address the report’s recommendations.

The Ombudsman’s investigation discovered that the Department holds around 80kms of historical records, which are of massive importance to the Forgotten Australians Working Group and wider sector. A vast quantity of these unsorted records are currently held in a damp, vermin-infested facility in the Melbourne CBD.

Following the release of the Ombudsman’s report, the Department is preparing a strategy to relocate the records to a more suitable location, and catalogue their contents.

The Ombudsman’s office will continue to receive quarterly updates on the progress of this strategy, and have capacity to act if they deem the Department’s actions to be inadequate.

The 2011 Investigation into the management of ward records by the Department of Human Services report can be found here.


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