Frequently asked questions
Frequently asked questions
Can I access services at Open Place?
I am a Victorian Forgotten Australian/Care Leaver, Child Migrant or a member of the Stolen Generations.
You can access all Open Place’s services, including access to brokerage funding for counselling, support to access records and family reunions, and group activities and events.
In Victoria, Forgotten Australians are described as those Australians who spent all or part of their childhood in a children’s home or orphanage during the last century prior to 1990.
The Victorian Government Department of Families, Fairness and Housing has confirmed that adults who, as children, were placed in Victorian out-of-home care services (e.g. children’s homes and institutions, foster care) for more than 6 months prior to 1990 are eligible for Open Place services. This includes people described in the 2004 Senate Inquiry Report, as Forgotten Australians, Child Migrants and members of the Stolen Generations, even if they now live interstate.
I spent most of my life in Victorian Children’s Homes, but I left Victoria and now live in another state/territory.
Yes, you can access all the services that we provide, including:
- counselling for you
- counselling support for up to 12 months for your immediate family members
- records searching support and assistance with travel for family reunions within Australia.
Our Coordinated Support team members can help you with your requests, including helping you to decide what you want to focus on first.
I was raised in a NSW orphanage but I now live in Victoria.
Under the Find & Connect funding, you can access all of Open Place’s services, except for assistance for family reunions, as this is outside of the Find & Connect guidelines.
All Forgotten Australians are welcome to attend our social support groups.
I am a Forgotten Australian from a different state/territory who is visiting Victoria.
Forgotten Australians who spent all or part of their childhood in an orphanage or home in a state/territory other than Victoria are welcome to call us or ‘drop in’ at Open Place. We can provide advice or support to help you access services in the state where you spent your time ‘in care’. You are also welcome to use the on-site facilities and/or have a cuppa with other Forgotten Australians. All Forgotten Australians are welcome to attend our social support groups.
I am a family member of a Victorian Forgotten Australian.
Families and partners of Victorian Forgotten Australians, Child Migrants and members of the Stolen Generations can access a limited number of counselling sessions at Open Place. With your consent, we can also support your family members with records and family searches.
What can I expect when I contact Open Place for support?
We run a daily ‘intake’ system, Monday to Friday, 9am-5pm AEST, which means we always have someone available to talk with during those hours.
Our intake worker will:
- ask you a few questions about your situation
- give you information about our services
- talk to you about what you think will help you the most
- explain the registration process to access Open Place supports.
We need to be sure that we are providing services to Forgotten Australians and their families, so our intake worker will also ask you if you have documents to confirm the dates of your time spent ‘in care’.
Why does Open Place need to have written confirmation of my time ‘in care’?
We ask for this information so that we make sure that our services are being accessed by the people who fought for and most need them - that is - Victorian Forgotten Australians.
If you don’t have any documents, the intake worker will give you advice about the best way to get that information.
We know that searching for personal records can be a painful and stressful process and that, for some people, there is very little evidence available of time spent ‘in care’.
Our creative and resourceful staff are here to support you and will work with you to make this process as easy and stress-free as we can.
We always encourage Forgotten Australians to use our counselling service or talk to another support person when accessing records for the first time.
How can I have a say in how Open Place does its work?
Feedback is very important to us as it helps us to better identify the needs of our service users, and make sure that we’re offering Forgotten Australians the services that you need and deserve in the most appropriate way.
We encourage you to talk to us if you have any feedback or concerns.
You can do this in the following ways:
- Email firstname.lastname@example.org
- Phone 1800 779 379
- Drop in to see us for a chat or simply leave a message in our Suggestion Box at the front desk.
You can also read more about how to provide feedback in our Service Charter.
How can Open Place help me with a housing difficulty?
We have been supporting Forgotten Australians for over 10 years and we know that access to safe and affordable housing is an issue for many Forgotten Australians.
Our support workers will work hard to link you with specialist housing services in your local area. Where it will help with a housing/accommodation application, our support workers can write you a letter of support.
With your permission, they can also:
- reach out to other professionals who know you, such as your doctor or disability worker, and encourage them to write their own supporting letters.
- advocate for you and explain to other professionals what your particular needs are for safe and affordable housing, and any issues you may be experiencing.
Our support workers have no special authority to access safe and affordable accommodation for individuals. However, they are here to help you find your way around a range of service systems, including housing, which can often be confusing.
We also take every opportunity to advocate and inform the Victorian and Australian Governments about the housing needs of Forgotten Australians.