What CLAN Does

Close to half a million children in Australia in the 20th century were brought up in 'care': as state wards, foster children or Home children raised in orphanages, Children's Homes, and other institutions, and in foster care. Many of these people are now middle-aged or older but still carry the burden of unresolved issues from this past.

Many are afraid to tell their friends, even their children, that they were in the care system because of the stigma it carried. Many were cut off from all contact with family members, and are still looking for them.

Most left the care system without any preparation or assistance for adulthood or for parenthood. Many are left with the scars of emotional deprivation and neglect, and of physical, sexual and psychological abuse.

We are the forgotten survivors of a past child welfare system which deprived us of a sense of identity, of self-worth, and of a rightful place in our society.

We have been silenced because there has been NO recognition or support for people in this situation. Until now.

Care Leavers Australia Network (CLAN) is a support, advocacy, research and training group for people from this background. We help everyone, including Australians who grew up in orphanages and Homes overseas. There are almost no services for older Care Leavers provided either by governments or by the agencies which ran Homes in the past.

CLAN's objective is to raise community awareness of our issues, and to campaign for government assistance to redress them. Being raised without your family has lifelong implications that require lifelong support services. CLAN can provide information, understanding and emotional support.

We publish a bi-monthly Newsletter sent to all our members containing articles and contributions from our members and others, and other items of interest like

  • Members' personal stories
  • Information on how to access your ward file
  • Details of any support and counseling services
  • How to locate lost family members and friends
  • Details on the progress of the Senate Inquiry into Children in Institutional Care
  • Books in our library which can help and inform

Some of this information can also be found on this website. For more information about CLAN, please call 1800 008 774 or email

Featured image top: The Infants' Home, Ashfield (NSW)


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