Years of Operation

Information from the Care Leavers Australia Network website ( ):

“CLAN was founded in July 2000 by Leonie Sheedy and Joanna Penglase. Leonie was a state ward in Victoria, who grew up in a Catholic Home. Joanna grew up in NSW, in a non-government residential Home which was run as a business under licence from the Child Welfare Department (now DOCS). Our childhoods covered the immediate postwar decades, the 1940s, 50s and 60s.

Leonie is currently a child-care worker with three children of her own. Joanna has one daughter and recently completed a PhD based on her own Home experience and that of 90 interviewees who grew up in care in NSW.

The first public meeting of CLAN was held on 21 October 2000 at the premises of the Exodus Foundation in Ashfield, Sydney. Several hundred people attended that meeting, and we now have almost 300 members, in all states of Australia. CLAN is an incorporated organisation, but is funded entirely by membership fees and donations, and staffed by volunteers.”


Role of the Organisation

Information from their website indicates that “Care Leavers Australia Network (CLAN) is a support group for people brought up in care as State Wards, Foster Children or Home children raised in Children's Homes, orphanages or institutions. Or who has a close family member who was placed in ‘care’.”

CLAN’s objectives are:

“·  to provide a network through which people from this background throughout Australia can communicate with each other and share their experiences. We know that many people who grew up in 'care' feel isolated and alone, believing the traumas of their childhood years were somehow their own fault.

·  to raise public consciousness of our past situation and its effects, so that what happened to us as state wards and Home children becomes as well-known as the experiences of the ‘stolen generations’, child migrants and adoptees.

·  to lobby governments in every state to provide acknowledgment and support for former state wards and Home children, for example through the appointment, in the Departments currently concerned with children of personnel who have the sole responsibility of looking after the needs of this older group of Care Leavers.

·  to have support services set up which include:

·  mediation services to help people locate lost family members and make contact with them;

·  search services in all states specifically targeted to former state wards and Home children to help locate family members. Existing services are inadequate and do not acknowledge the needs of this group of people;

·  access to education and training for Care Leavers who were prevented by their background from reaching their potential (some Care Leavers from this earlier period left “care” unable even to read and write);

·  access to other life skills courses - such as parenting courses. Many of us grew up with no role models and as "parentless people" we have had little idea how to be parents ourselves. Also, as we know from our own experience, having children often raises painful unresolved issues from childhood, particularly around abandonment and neglect;

·  specialist counselling services to help Care Leavers deal with these past issues.”



Brief History


Contact Details

Freedom of Information, Department for Child Protection, PO Box 6334, East Perth WA 6892. 

Telephone: (08) 9222 2555  Freecall  (STD) 1800 000 277





PO Box 164 Georges Hall NSW 2198

Telephone:  (02) 9709 4520 or 0425-204-747