LITTLE boy lost William Tyrrell, the three-year-old who went missing almost three years ago, was a foster child in care at the time of his disappearance, it's been revealed.
The new details were made public for the first time by Channel 9's A Current Affair program after statutory restrictions preventing them becoming public were clarified by a judge.
It's almost three years since William disappeared from his foster grandmother's home in Kendall, on the NSW mid-north Coast on September 12, 2014 in what has become one of Australia's most painful and puzzling missing persons cases.
William would have turned six years old in June.
In 2016 there were almost 700 people in the sights of the investigators and in September 2016, a $1 million reward for information on William's disappearance was announced.
The fact that at the time he disappeared from the house in Kendall, William was in the care of the Department of Family and Community Services (FACS), being cared for by foster parents in what is referred to as out-of-home care, has been a secret guarded by FACS until now, ACA,said, but provides another missing piece in the puzzle that has captured Australia.
There's no suggestion that either William's biological or foster families were involved in his disappearance or have any knowledge of his whereabouts.
Nor is there suggestion of fault on their parts.
William's biological father had struggled continually with drug and alcohol problems and life behind bars, ACA said.
Meanwhile, William's loving foster parents - who have not shared their identities, still hope he is alive.
"If he is alive, if somebody has him, I want to be feeling loved, I ... I want him to be safe, to be looking after him," William's foster mother said.
In the Court of Appeal documents, the judge found that the fact of William being in the parental responsibility of the NSW Minister for Family and Community Services, and in the care of departmentally approved carers, was a matter of "legitimate public interest".
Supreme Court of NSW judge Justice Brereton is also quoted as noting "the tragic probability that (William) is no longer alive".
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