Commencing 1 July 2020 Relationships Australia Victoria will operate Open Place, the specialised state-wide support service for people who were in institutional care as children before 1990.
People who were in institutional care as children before 1990 are sometimes known or described as Forgotten Australians, Care Leavers or Pre-1990 Care Leavers. The Department of Health and Human Services (the department) uses the term Pre-1990 Care Leavers.
In October 2019, Berry Street Victoria announced their decision to cease operating the Open Place service. Following the announcement, the department consulted with Pre-1990 Care Leavers and key stakeholders to hear their views about what they valued most about the current service provided by Open Place and if anything could improve. Their views informed the open and competitive tender process and announcement by the department in early April 2020, that Relationships Australia Victoria is the new provider of Open Place from 1 July 2020.
Relationships Australia Victoria is well placed to take on this new service, having experience working with Pre-1990 Care Leavers and an initial partner with Berry Street Victoria in the delivery of Open Place. Relationships Australia currently provides services to Pre-1990 Care Leavers in other states and territories. More information is available on the Relationships Australia Victoria website.
The department would like to once again thank the commitment and dedication of Open Place and Berry Street Victoria staff who have worked diligently with Pre-1990 Care Leavers and contributed to alleviating the life-long impact of institutional care. The valued services and expert knowledge provided by Open Place and Berry Street Victoria over the past 10 years will provide the foundation for the strong future service provided by Relationships Australia Victoria.
The department would also like to thank those Pre-1990 Care Leavers and stakeholders who generously contributed their views, personal journeys and reflections in the consultations undertaken in late 2019 which informed the tender process. The consultations produced two reports which include a consultation report and the service principles. We look forward to these conversations continuing and further informing and shaping the Open Place service with Relationships Australia Victoria.