How to Find Your File

There are now several resources available to assist you in locating your Ward file or other personal records from when you or someone close to you was in “care” and separated from family members. As well as brochures designed to assist you in locating and accessing your file, there are counselling services and other support services to help you along the way.

The information provided below and on the subsequent pages refers to if you were a State Ward. If you were not a State Ward, but you were in an Orphanage or Children’s Home in Australia or were fostered, please click ‘here‘.

Care Leavers Access to Records Policy

State Wards

If you were a State Ward, there may be a file, or an index card on you, held by the Government Department which now operates Child and Family Services in your state. Please do be aware however that this is not always the case, and that there may not be a file. Records have sometimes been poorly kept, lost or have disappeared over the years.

Information for former State Wards is often located within the section of the current Child and Family Services Department, such as the Department of Communities Justice, that deals with Foster Care and Adoption. CLAN does not believe this is appropriate and we are working to change it. We would like to see a service in all state departments dedicated entirely to the needs of State Wards.

Charter of Rights to Childhood Records

Click Here to View the Charter


Victorian Absconder Lists

If you ran away from an Orphanage, Children’s Home, Mission, or Foster Care in the state of Victoria, your name may be listed in the Victorian Police Gazettes on an absconder (runaway) list. We have collected the available lists, but have not displayed surnames. If you recognise your first name and the name of the Institution and would like to find out more, please contact CLAN on 1800 008 774 or email us at

Click Here for Absconder Lists from 1901-1969