Accessing State records
Many State records about recent childhood experiences and care are restricted access, most commonly for 75 years calculated from the most recent date recorded. This is to ensure that sensitive personal and medical information remains private.
For example, the Tasmanian Archives holds the following series of Welfare files in our collection:
- General Welfare Case Files (Series Number AA226) Covering the period 9 Mar 1915 – 11 Nov 1994, this series of records contains applications and correspondence relating to the custody and welfare of children, child migration and the provision of compassionate allowances to individuals and families.
- This series is classified as ‘Agency access only 75 years (D75)’, which means that records less than 75 years old are ‘closed’ and can only be accessed through the responsible government agency. As with all welfare records, this agency is the Department for Education, Children and Young People, Tasmania. You will need to apply for access to these records (see below).
It is important to note that any records about adoption and fostering are permanently closed to the public. These files can only ever be accessed through the Department for Education, Children and Young People and the Adoption Information Service. For more information, see ‘Accessing adoption and fostering records’ below.
How can I access my State records?
While the Tasmanian Archives is a starting point to finding out about your childhood story, we will need to refer you to the Department for Education, Children and Young People, Tasmania, or Adoption Information Service to access closed State records. That agency will assess your application to see closed records, search for items on your behalf, and may then provide access to these records to you.
Accessing Welfare and Ward of the State files
To access Welfare and Ward of the State files you will need to contact the Department for Education, Children and Young People, Tasmania, and complete a Right to Information application form. The online RTI form is available on the Department for Education, Children and Young People website. The department will assess your application, and may then provide access.
Accessing adoption and fostering records
If you were adopted or in foster care as a child, you will need to contact the Adoption Information Service to discuss the process, and to find out if you are eligible. Only certain people under the Adoption Act (1988) can access information from the record. The Adoption Information Service is part of the Department for Education, Children and Young People, Tasmania.
Find & Connect has a useful overview explaining your rights to information and the privacy laws that govern what and how your records can be accessed, and what can be amended. See Applying for Records: Your Rights and the Law, which provides links to the original legislation.