29 July - 4 August 2012
Every year, 35,000 people are reported missing in Australia. That equates to one person every 15 minutes. The Salvation Army's Family Tracing Service seeks to address this need in our community, locating 886 people last year.
Family Tracing Service Director, Major Phia Gibb, leads her team in achieving family reconciliation all over Australia. "We are the oldest and most successful family tracing service in the world, and we are peacemakers. We bring people back together." said major Gibb.
Reconciliation is a goal not easily met; the avenues of enquiry range from checking databases, calling home shelters and rehabilitation clinics to going the 'extra mile' - caseworkers have been known to personally visit potential leads, write letters to entire neighbourhood, and petition radio celebrities, TV shows, governments and emergency services.
On the case
One of the recent success stories from the Family Tracing Service came to worker Tracey Hudson from a Californian woman.
She had come to Melbourne with the intention of finding her father, but approaching the end of her two week stay she hadn't found him.
At the eleventh hour, the Family Tracing Service was able to reunite father and daughter. On Tracey advice, the woman was able to narrow the search down to five houses. She met with strangers at houses one, two, three and four. The fifth house, an hour-and-a-half's drive away, the woman knocked on her last chance of an encounter with her father. He answered the door.
Tracey received a call from the lady soon after. 'She called me with great glee,' Tracey said. 'She was in two minds on whether she should catch her flight or cancel it. She went with a smile on her face, having organized to return to spend proper time with him.'