Pre-1990 Care Leavers

People who were in institutional care as children before 1990 can receive support. We use the term Pre-1990 Care Leavers and acknowledge there are multiple ways individuals and groups identify themselves including but not limited to Care Leavers and Forgotten Australians.

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 prior to 1990, where many of them experienced various forms of abuse such as physical, psychological, emotional and child sexual abuse.

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

Redress Scheme

The Victorian Government is investing $7.5 million to create a redress scheme for people who experienced child abuse and neglect while in institutional care prior to 1990 (the Scheme).

This includes advance redress payments of $10,000 for people who were physically, psychologically, or emotionally abused or neglected as children in institutional care in Victoria before 1990, and are terminally or critically ill. For more information on advance redress payments, visit Victorian historical care leaver advance redress payments.

Advance redress payments will be available until the Victorian Historical Care Leavers Redress Scheme starts. Information will be provided soon about the consultation and co-design process which will inform the establishment of the Scheme. 

If you are interested in receiving updated information or would like to take part in the consultation, email VictorianGovernmentRedressScheme@dffh.vic.gov.au.

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 Leavers Australasia 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:

Parliamentary Apology to Victorians who experienced historical abuse and neglect as children in institutional care

On Thursday 8 February 2024, Premier Jacinta Allan made a formal Apology in Parliament, to Victorians who experienced historical abuse and neglect as children in institutional care.

A recording of the Apology can be viewed on the Parliament of Victoria website.