Resources and information for if you would like to find out about family members you have been separated from.
You can call Compass to discuss searching for family members on 1800 21 03 13.
If you are looking for a family member whose whereabouts is unknown but this is not as a result of forced adoption policies and practices, you can call Open Place on 1800 779 379, or VANISH (Victorian Adoption Network for Information and Self Help) on 1300 826 474.
Obtaining adoption records is the first step
In Victoria, Family Information Networks and Discovery (FIND) is a service provided by the state Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) to help people separated by adoption who want to obtain adoption records or contact one another.
Before commencing your search, FIND will meet with you to talk about the process, your rights and needs and also those of other family members.
The FIND website has information about their services, application forms and downloadable information sheets about obtaining adoption information.
If you are seeking information or family records from other states of Australia, you can contact the Forced Adoption Support Services for that state.
Once you have received the adoption records, you can start to search official records (such as births, deaths and marriages records and electoral rolls) for information about your family member/s.
VANISH (Victorian Adoption Network for Information and Self Help) has been supporting people affected by forced adoption to search for their relatives for more than 25 years. VANISH has produced a search guide detailing all the steps of the search process that is available on their website.
Often people find that enlisting support from friends and family is a great help when dealing with the emotional and practical issues encountered during their search. In Victoria there are specialist services and peer support groups who can help as well.
While searching can be straightforward, this is often not the case and it can take a long time – many months or even longer. Records may be incomplete or inaccurate, and family members may be hard to locate as their names may have changed or they may have moved interstate or overseas.
Although it may take time, the success rate for locating a person is quite high. If you are successful in finding current information about the person you are searching for, it’s important to take time to carefully consider how to go about making contact.
You can call Compass if you need support on 1800 21 03 13.