About The Project

For generations Care Leavers—people who have experienced separation from their biological parents during their childhood through institutionalisation, foster care and/or kinship care—have battled against stigma, negative stereotyping and, until recent years, political and social disinterest. Care Leavers have long been productive Australian citizens, and tenacious advocates for the wellbeing of themselves and others. Yet, they are rarely given credit for their contributions to community.

Our project—Care Leaver Activism & Advocacy: From Deficit Models To Survivor Narratives—takes a multi-strand approach to promoting new histories that represent the diverse ways in which Care Leavers have defied negative expectations and campaigned for recognition.

  • Strand One, driven by the voices of activists themselves, examines the direct political activism of Care Leavers which, since the 1990s, has been instrumental in influencing state and federal governments to undertake significant inquiries, and make formal apologies for the mistreatment of children for whom they were responsible.
  • Strand Two looks at the long historical processes which have entrenched negative stereotypes about children in out-of-home care to help explain why low expectations of Care Leavers and deficit-based narratives persist.
  • Strand Three uses a life course perspective to demonstrate the solutions to problems that survivors have devised and implemented, and to disrupt deficit-driven constructions of Care Leavers.

All three strands aim to inform current public debate on a range of social issues relating to Care Leavers in the Australian community.

Find out more

Care Leaver Life Stories

The More Than Our Childhoods website features a biographical database of Care Leaver life stories, generated through all three strands of the project. It aims to recognise the breadth and diversity of Care Leavers across time, especially those from, or with connections to, Australia.

Some of the biographies are about people who have dedicated much time and energy to Care Leaver activism, others are people who have contributed to their communities in other ways, and some are of people who are known for excellence in their chosen field but whose out-of-home care experience is often overlooked.

Wherever possible the biographies present people’s experiences and views in their own words, or are the result of collaboration and consultation between the subjects and the project team.

Want to share your experiences?

Please get in touch if you'd like to share your life story, know more about the project or suggest an update.
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