On 21 March 2013 in the Great Hall of Parliament House in Canberra, the Prime Minister, Julia Gillard, made an apology on behalf of the Australian Government to people affected by past Forced Adoption or removal policies and practices. This apology occurred as a result of the contributions of many, including significant advocacy by many individuals and groups with lived experience.
In February 2012, the Senate Community Affairs Reference Committee published their report into the Commonwealth Contribution to Former Forced Adoption Policies and Practices. This included information from public hearings and private hearings culminating in 20 recommendations, including the need for the Commonwealth to make a formal apology.
Also in 2012, the Australian Institute of Family Studies (AIFS) published a national research study on the Service Response to Past Adoption Practices and on 25 October the Premier of Victoria, The Honourable Ted Bailieu, MP, made an apology on behalf of the Victorian Government.
In response to the Senate Enquiry recommendations the Commonwealth Government announced their intention to provide tailored support services to people affected by past forced adoption or removal policies and practices, leading to the establishment of Forced Adoption Support Services (FASS) in each state.
RAV is the provider of FASS in Victoria, through its Compass program. RAV has been funded not only to provide direct services to clients but also to administer small grants to stakeholders and other eligible applicants. The purpose of these grants is to assist existing advocates and groups to build their capacity and awareness of forced adoption within the community. To date, we have funded 16 projects, including two funding grants for events taking place in March 2017. Full details of the grant recipients are available here.
Lucy McCarthy, Compass Program Coordinator, said that in the past the anniversaries of the national and state apologies have been difficult times for many people.
“We would encourage anyone who is affected to contact us on 1800 21 03 13, which is a dedicated national number that will connect them to the FASS service in their state,” she said.
“Our staff can assist you with information, support and referral depending upon your individual needs.”
Further information on the national apology, as well as information on Forced Adoption Support Services is available on the Department of Social Services website.
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