Comma

Reclaiming identity: Australia's response to children in care

Comma (2011), 2011, (1), 123–134.

Abstract

The exploration of identity has proved of particular concern to children removed from their families during the twentieth century. It has been estimated that approximately 500,000 Australians (including Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children and child migrants) spent time in an orphanage, children's home or other form of out-of-home care during the twentieth century. A number of state and federal inquiries have examined the treatment of these children. Their reports have emphasised the children's loss of identity and the effect of this on their lives and the central place of access to records in attempting to re-establish identity. Archival institutions have responded to these reports in a range of ways - liaising with the user groups and with each other, developing protocols and memoranda of understanding; directories, guides, indexes, websites and related publications; reference support; exhibitions, oral histories and grants. These actions have provided assistance to many people but there is still work that needs to be done to assist people in reclaiming their identities.

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Author details

Rowell, Hilary