Remembering Forgotten Australians and Former Child Migrants

Today marks the 13th anniversary of the National Apology to the Forgotten Australians and Former Child Migrants.

On this day in 2009, Prime Minister Kevin Rudd made a formal apology on behalf of the nation, acknowledging the years of mistreatment and neglect experienced by children who had been placed in institutional homes.

Up until the end of the 1980s, over 500,000 children were removed from their families, and approximately 7000 child migrants were displaced from their home countries and placed in institutional homes.

Minister for Social Services Amanda Rishworth said the anniversary is an important and solemn reminder for our nation of the experiences faced by Forgotten Australians (Care Leavers) and Former Child Migrants.

“While we cannot undo the wrongdoings of the past, we acknowledge the suffering faced by many of these children, and remain committed to never allowing these terrible practices to be repeated,” Minister Rishworth said.

To support people living with trauma, the Australian Government has committed $23.5 million over five years to ensure the continuation of the Find and Connect program.

“This program helps people uncover their history, trace and reclaim their identities, and build relationships with their families in hopes of healing,” Minister Rishworth said.

Funding has been dedicated to eleven organisations to deliver the Find and Connect program, including support services in each state and territory.

These support services provide specialised counselling, referral services, peer education and social support programs, assistance to locate and access records, and help reconnect with family members.

As part of the program, the government also funds the Find and Connect website, which serves as an online resource for people who grew up in institutional homes, and their families, to track down historical records.

For more information on Forgotten Australians (Care Leavers), Former Child Migrants and the national apology, please visit the National Museum of Australia’s online exhibition.

To access Find and Connect Support Services, call 1800 16 11 09 or visit the Find and Connect Web Resource.