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cafs apology

Cafs Apology to Former Residents, Care Leavers and their families is on permanent display at Cafs History and Memory Centre, Ballarat

Kindergarten Class 1914

The Agency now called “Child and Family Services Ballarat Incorporated” (Cafs) has cared for children since 1866. It managed the “Ballarat District Orphan Asylum (1866-1909), the Ballarat Orphanage” (1909 – 1968) and the “Ballarat Children’s Home” (1968 – 1983) providing institutional accommodation for children.


We are sorry.


For the abuse and cruelty that many children endured, and the needless pain and suffering that was inflicted. For failing in our duty of care. For failing to keep them safe. For failing to implement policies and processes to protect them from abuse and harm. For enabling and protecting the perpetrators of abuse. When children told us what happened, we didn’t listen to them. When the adults they became told us what happened, we ignored them for years. For many, justice was neither pursued nor achieved.


We took labour from children and robbed them of opportunities to prosper later in life. Many children never received the education they deserved, nor got to make choices about their own lives. Many did not receive the medical care they needed, causing longer term damage later in life.


We are sorry to families and for keeping them apart. To the mothers and fathers who could not visit their children, and the brothers and sisters who were separated from each other. 


We were active participants in policies and practices that led to the Stolen Generations, and the devastation of Aboriginal families and communities.


We acknowledge that people who were from the LGBTIQA+ community would not have been able to be their true selves in the institutional context as were the norms of the day. We did not always care adequately for those with diverse abilities.


We were part of the systems and structures that caused physical, psychological, and social harm to children from all over Victoria, Australia, and the world.  


We acknowledge that trust has been betrayed and irreparable harm caused.  


We do not seek forgiveness; we now seek truth and justice.


 We commit to shine a light on our past, and to help former residents and their families keep finding and telling their own stories. We face our past so we can do better for families and children now and in the future.

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