Pre-1990 Care Leavers

People who were in institutional care as children before 1990 (Pre-1990 Care Leavers, also known as Forgotten Australians and Care Leavers) can receive support.

The Victorian Government is committed to providing ongoing support to Pre-1990 Care Leavers to address the impact of past practices.  

It is estimated more than 90,000 children were placed in care in Victoria between 1928 and 1990. Many Pre-1990 Care Leavers experienced various forms of abuse such as physical, psychological, emotional and child sexual abuse during their time in care.

The challenges Pre-1990 Care Leavers faced have been documented in numerous inquiries including:  

Redress Scheme

The Victorian Government is investing $2.9 million to create a Redress Scheme for people who experienced child abuse and neglect while in institutional care between 1928-1990.

It will include financial payments, personal acknowledgements and apologies, and access to support services.

The Scheme will be designed together with care leavers to make sure it‘s meaningful, healing and respectful.

Consultation to co-design the Scheme will launch in coming months.

To register your interest in receiving updated information on the Scheme or taking part in the consultation, email dpr@dffh.vic.gov.au.

Recognition of Pre-1990 Care Leaver experiences

In October 2022, the Victorian Government committed to establishing a new Redress Scheme for people who experienced child abuse and neglect while placed in historical institutional care (the Scheme).

This Scheme is an important step in recognising, acknowledging and apologising for the harm Pre-1990 Care Leavers may have experienced. The Scheme will be available to people who have experienced any type of abuse in historical care settings, not just sexual abuse which is covered by the National Redress Scheme.

It is our hope the Scheme will help more people to feel heard and believed. It will also make sure people in positions of power hear about these experiences and continue their work to prevent and respond to abuse.

In the coming months, we will launch consultation to co-design the scheme. The co-design process will help make sure the program is meaningful, healing, and respectful. We will also launch exceptional circumstances payments ahead of the full implementation of the scheme

Services and supports

Open Place

Open Place is a specialised state-wide support service for Victorian Pre-1990 Care Leavers.

Open Place services, provided by Relationships Australia Victoria, provides:

  • advocacy, case work support and referrals to services including health, housing, education, income support and employment
  • counselling provided by appropriately qualified staff and including individual, family and group and provided in person and through online platforms 
  • promotion of family and community connectedness including drop-in centre (located in Richmond), peer and social support groups, events, educational and personal development activities and workshops 
  • financial assistance for health and practical needs in accordance with brokerage guidelines
  • access to records and family searching including support to access and view their records and assistance with family reunification 

The federal Department of Social Services funds Open Place to provide:

  • Records, Find and Connect Service to assist Pre-1990 Care Leavers to access institutional and ward records, family records and undertake family searches and in some cases family reunions
  • Redress Support Service provides support for people applying, or thinking about applying, for redress through the National Redress Scheme for people who have experienced institutional child sexual abuse.

Care leaver Australia network (CLAN)

CLAN is a national, independent, peak body which represents, supports and advocates for Pre-1990 Care Leavers. CLAN offers support to people who have grown up in Orphanages, Children's Homes, Missions and Foster Care in Australia and New Zealand, or whose parents or other family members had this experience. Services include, but are not limited to:

  • Professional counselling
  • Assistance with locating family members and friends
  • Support to access records and ward files
  • Advocacy and referrals
  • Social get-togethers.

CLAN is a member of the Restore program and also funded by the federal Department of Social Services to provide a Redress Support Service.

Find and connect

Find and connect is a website for people who were in out-of-home care as children in Victoria. It tells the story of institutional care in Victoria from its beginnings in the 1840s through to the present.

You can use Find and connect to:

  • Read about and view images of orphanages, homes and other residences
  • Track down records - where they are, who to contact and what to expect
  • Find out about key institutions, agencies, public figures, legislation and policies.

Other support services

There are several other organisations that provide support to Pre-1990 Care Leavers including: