Recommendations

Recommendations

Recommendation 1

8.46      The committee recommends that a national framework to address the consequences of former forced adoption be developed by the Commonwealth, states and territories through the Community and Disability Services Ministers Conference.

Recommendation 2

9.56      The committee recommends that the Commonwealth Government issue a formal statement of apology that identifies the actions and policies that resulted in forced adoption and acknowledges, on behalf of the nation, the harm suffered by many parents whose children were forcibly removed and by the children who were separated from their parents.

Recommendation 3

9.57      The committee recommends that state and territory governments and non-government institutions that administered adoptions should issue formal statements of apology that acknowledge practices that were illegal or unethical, as well as other practices that contributed to the harm suffered by many parents whose children were forcibly removed and by the children who were separated from their parents.

Recommendation 4

9.58      The committee recommends that apologies by the Commonwealth or by other governments and institutions should satisfy the five criteria for formal apologies set out by the Canadian Law Commission and previously noted by the Senate Community Affairs Committee.

Recommendation 5

9.76      The committee recommends that official apologies should include statements that take responsibility for the past policy choices made by institutions' leaders and staff, and not be qualified by reference to values or professional practice during the period in question.

Recommendation 6

9.81      The committee recommends that formal apologies should always be accompanied by undertakings to take concrete actions that offer appropriate redress for past mistakes.

Recommendation 7

9.85      The committee recommends that a Commonwealth formal apology be presented in a range of forms, and be widely published.

Recommendation 8

10.58      The committee recommends that the Commonwealth, states and territories urgently determine a process to establish affordable and regionally available specialised professional support and counselling services to address the specific needs of those affected by former forced adoption policies and practices.

Recommendation 9

10.59      The committee recommends that the Commonwealth fund peer-support groups that assist people affected by former forced adoption policies and practices to deliver services in the areas of:

  • promoting public awareness of the issues;
  • documenting evidence;
  • assisting with information searches; and
  • organising memorial events;

And that this funding be provided according to transparent application criteria.

Recommendation 10

10.60      The committee recommends that financial contributions be sought from state and territory governments, institutions, and organisations that were involved in the practice of placing children of single mothers for adoption to support the funding of services described in the previous two recommendations.

Recommendation 11

11.36      The committee recommends that the Commonwealth should lead discussions with states and territories to consider the issues surrounding the establishment and funding of financial reparation schemes.

Recommendation 12

11.43      The committee recommends that institutions and governments that had responsibility for adoption activities in the period from the 1950s to the 1970s establish grievance mechanisms that will allow the hearing of complaints and, where evidence is established of wrongdoing, ensure redress is available. Accessing grievance mechanisms should not be conditional on waiving any right to legal action.

Recommendation 13

12.33      The committee recommends that

  • all jurisdictions adopt integrated birth certificates, that these be issued to eligible people upon request, and that they be legal proof of identity of equal status to other birth certificates, and
  • jurisdictions investigate harmonisation of births, deaths and marriages register access and the facilitation of a single national access point to those registers.

Recommendation 14

12.36      The committee recommends that:

  • All jurisdictions adopt a process for allowing the names of fathers to be added to original birth certificates of children who were subsequently adopted and for whom fathers' identities were not originally recorded; and
  • Provided that any prescribed conditions are met, the process be administrative and not require an order of a court.

Recommendation 15

12.104   The committee recommends that the Community and Disability Services Ministers Conference agree on, and implement in their jurisdictions, new principles to govern post-adoption information and contact for pre-reform era adoptions, and that these principles include that:

  • All adult parties to an adoption be permitted identifying information;
  • All parties have an ability to regulate contact, but that there be an upper limit on how long restrictions on contact can be in place without renewal; and
  • All jurisdictions provide an information and mediation service to assist parties to adoption who are seeking information and contact.

Recommendation 16

12.114   The committee recommends that the Commonwealth provide funding to extend the existing program for family tracing and support services to include adoption records and policies, with organisations such as Link-Up Queensland and Jigsaw used as a blueprint.

Recommendation 17

12.115   The committee recommends that the states and territories extend their Find and Connect information service to include adoption service providers.

Recommendation 18

12.116   The committee recommends that non-government organisations with responsibility for former adoption service providers (such as private hospitals or maternity homes) establish projects to identify all records still in their possession, make information about those institutions and records available to state and territory Find and Connect services, and provide free access to individuals seeking their own records.

Recommendation 19

12.123   The committee recommends that the Community and Disability Services Ministers Conference, in consultation with non-government organisations that had responsibility for adoption services and hospitals, agree on and commit to a statement of principles for access to personal information, that would  include a commitment to cheaper and easier searches of, and access to, organisational records.

Recommendation 20

13.9      The committee recommends that the Commonwealth commission an exhibition documenting the experiences of those affected by former forced adoption policies and practices.

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