Government marks ten year anniversary of the National Apology for Forced Adoptions

On the tenth anniversary of the National Apology for Forced Adoptions, the Albanese Labor Government will remember the mothers and families affected by forced adoptions and announce $700,000 in funding for delivery of trauma-informed support services.

On 21 March 2013, former Prime Minister the Hon Julia Gillard AC, delivered the National Apology for Forced Adoptions, shining a spotlight on a dark chapter in Australia’s history.

Tomorrow (Wednesday), a Statement will be made to Parliament reflecting on the importance of truth-telling and how must learn from our past.

Minister for Social Services Amanda Rishworth acknowledged that the suffering of those who experienced forced adoption has not gone away.

“No-one makes up for the trauma, pain, loss, disconnection and separation that has been caused by the forced adoption processes, policies and procedures,” Minister Rishworth said.

“The pain and suffering associated with forced adoption practices is lifelong. The mother baby bond was broken, as so many mothers were pressured into giving up their newborn babies or had their babies taken through immoral, unethical and above all illegal practices.

“And for some people, the pain is still ahead of them. There are adults today who, only now, in midlife, are finding out that they were separated from their parents.

“That is why we are strengthening the current supports we provide to people affected by forced adoptions with $700,000 in funding for training for aged care, allied health, and Forced Adoption Support Service providers to ensure they can deliver targeted, trauma-informed care.

“This will mean people affected by forced adoption can access appropriate care, tailored for their needs, whatever stage of life they are at.”

The Government continues to provide $1.8 million annually for Forced Adoption Support Services, which offer a national helpline, casework and support and search services to locate family and access to counselling to people across the country.

“I will also be reaching out to my fellow Community Services Ministers across all states and territories to renew cooperation and consider how we can build a better national response to forced adoptions,” Minister Rishworth said.

From the 1940s tens of thousands of babies were taken from their mothers by immoral and often illegal means, leaving mothers and families dealing with deep trauma, shame, and grief.

While some adopted people enjoyed the promise of a happy home with loving adoptive parents, adoptees’ experiences varied greatly – many suffered a loss of identity or sense of rejection, and in the most tragic cases suffered abuse or neglect.

The historic National Apology delivered ten years ago apologised unreservedly for forced adoptions, denounced the practices as reprehensible and inexcusable, acknowledged the lifelong pain they caused, and committed to support those affected to get the help they need.

“Anniversaries are a time to reflect and remember the truth. Passing on the knowledge and keeping it alive between generations is key to making sure it is never forgotten,” Minister Rishworth said.

More information about support available through Forced Adoption Support Services can be found on the Department of Social Services website.

For those that need assistance call the Forced Adoption Support Services national help line on 1800 21 03 13 or Lifeline 24/7 Crisis Support on 13 11 14.