Forgotten Australian Support Service
You can access this service if you were:
- placed in NSW out-of-home care after 1990 and are now aged 26 or over
- placed, by the Government, in NSW children’s homes, orphanages or similar institutions or foster homes before 1990, applying to three main groups:
“Forgotten Australians” are the largest of the three groups, but often the least recognised.
Many people prefer different terms such as “care leaver”, “State ward/ward of the State” or “foster kid”. Or you may not use any term to define your experience. The way each person identifies their experience is a personal choice.
There are many shared experiences for each of the groups. We do, however, acknowledge that each of the three groups is unique, was impacted by different legislation and policies, and have their own battles and issues to deal with.
We extend a warm welcome to you if you would like to be a part of the Wattle Place community.
We want Wattle Place to be a place where you feel you belong and where you can find support when you need it. Wattle Place provides acknowledgement, respect, understanding, hope and the opportunity for social connection, friendship and the feeling that you are a part of a community.
See below for the ways we can help you.
If you are not eligible for this service
Forgotten Australians, Stolen Generations and Former Child Migrants placed in out-of-home care in states other than NSW before 1990 should read the Find and Connect Support Service page of this website to see what support we can offer to you.
People placed in out-of-home care after 1990 in states other than NSW can find information via relevant services in other states. Links to those services are at the bottom of this page.
The Forgotten Australian Support Service is funded by the NSW Department of Communities and Justice.
How we help
Face-to-face and telephone counselling
Counselling might not be something you have ever considered, but it can be useful in many different ways. For example, a counsellor might provide moral support through a current challenge you are facing, a counsellor might give you practical strategies to use if you feel overwhelmed, or you might be ready to tell someone, for the very first time, what happened to you in your childhood. But we understand if you choose not to have counselling. We will always be guided by you. We have Aboriginal counsellors for Aboriginal people preferring to speak with another Aboriginal person. We also offer the choice of a male or female counsellor. Whatever you request from us, please be assured, your wellbeing, safety and confidentiality are our highest priorities.
Brokerage is a financial contribution towards the costs of services that support your wellbeing, such as medical, dental, optical, etc. Please note that strict guidelines and eligibility criteria apply for access to brokerage and decisions are made on a case by case basis. Brokerage Guidelines
Assistance and support to access institutional and personal records
The Forgotten Australian Support Service applies on your behalf to Government agencies and former out-of-home care providers for identification documents and records from your time in out-of-home care. Finding records of identity, family or time in institutions or foster homes can be incredibly significant, but can have both positive and negative impacts. Wattle Place not only helps to find records but also provides support, when needed, to deal with those impacts. We obtain all records at no cost to you.
Assistance and support with family tracing
Connection to families was often completely severed. Children were often lied to and told their parents had died or abandoned them. The Forgotten Australian Support Service can apply on your behalf for records relating to your family history. Finding out information about your family can help to fill in gaps about your identity and origins. There is no cost to you for any records.
One-off assistance with first time family reunion
If possible, we can facilitate contact and the first reunion with family members you were separated from, and haven’t seen since you were placed in out-of-home care. This can be a very emotional and unpredictable process and we are here to guide and support you through it. Please note that strict guidelines and eligibility criteria apply to family reunions and decisions are made on a case-by-case basis.
Sometimes it may be that you will be better supported by an appropriately qualified counsellor who is closer to where you live or with whom you have a trusting relationship. If approved, we can arrange a professional of your choice to provide your counselling.
Casework and advocacy
Your counsellor or caseworker can work with you and support you to set and achieve certain goals, face certain challenges, develop strategies and connect with people or services who are best placed to assist you.
Assistance with information and referrals to other services
If Wattle Place is unable to provide what you need, or there is more appropriate assistance available, we will help you sort through options or connect with services who are better placed to assist you.
Social activities and special events
The group work and the social activities offered by Wattle Place provide fun and varied ways to explore creativity, gain new skills, experience new things and develop connections and friendships.
We offer a wide variety of workshops at Wattle Place. These workshops are designed to be fun, encourage you to explore your creativity, develop strategies and skills to help you manage some of your feelings and reactions and potentially make connections with other Forgotten Australians.
Wattle Place provides a warm, friendly and relaxed atmosphere to have a cuppa or something to eat or use the computer. Drop-in Centre is currently available between 10am and 4pm, Mondays to Thursdays.
We post out a newsletter every three months to keep you informed about news, groups, social activities and events happening at Wattle Place, as well as important news and information about issues relevant to Forgotten Australians and care leavers.
You can read past editions of the Wattle It Be newsletter here
Groups and event calendar
The groups, social outings and events are only available to people registered with the Forgotten Australian Support Service or the Find and Connect Support Service.
Click on a highlighted date to see detail about what is on that day, then you can register your interest.
Friday: 1 December 2023
Saturday: 2 December 2023
Sunday: 3 December 2023
Monday: 4 December 2023
Tuesday: 5 December 2023
Wednesday: 6 December 2023
Thursday: 7 December 2023
Friday: 8 December 2023
Saturday: 9 December 2023
Sunday: 10 December 2023
Monday: 11 December 2023
Tuesday: 12 December 2023
Wednesday: 13 December 2023
Thursday: 14 December 2023
Friday: 15 December 2023
Saturday: 16 December 2023
Sunday: 17 December 2023
Monday: 18 December 2023
Tuesday: 19 December 2023
Wednesday: 20 December 2023
Thursday: 21 December 2023
Friday: 22 December 2023
Saturday: 23 December 2023
Sunday: 24 December 2023
Monday: 25 December 2023
Tuesday: 26 December 2023
Wednesday: 27 December 2023
Thursday: 28 December 2023
Friday: 29 December 2023
Saturday: 30 December 2023
Sunday: 31 December 2023
Read the Wattle Place booklet
We have worked very closely with two Forgotten Australians to produce this booklet which explains Wattle Place from the perspective of Forgotten Australians. It’s called ‘Wattle Place: The secret everyone should know about’. We invite you to read it here.