Commonwealth Contribution to Former Forced Adoption Policies and Practices

Commonwealth Contribution to Former Forced Adoption Policies and Practices

29 February 2012

© Commonwealth of Australia 2012
ISBN 978-1-74229-600-5

View the report as a single document - (PDF 3264KB)

View the report as separate downloadable parts:

Recommendations (PDF 30KB)
Chapter 1 - Introduction (PDF 260KB)

The language of adoption
The scope of this inquiry
Adoption in Australia
Previous relevant inquiries
Other current inquiries into adoption
Examination of records by this committee
Evidence given by submitters

Chapter 2 - Attitudes towards adoption (PDF 70KB)

Early twentieth century: adoption as an alternative to institutionalisation
Post-war period: clean break theory
Post-war period: adoption practices

Chapter 3 - The experience of forced adoption (PDF 243KB)

Mothers' experiences of pregnancy in maternity homes
Mothers' experiences of pregnancy at home and in the community
Mothers' experiences of birth and hospitals

Chapter 4 - Effects of forced adoption (PDF 139KB)

The experience of adopted people
Ongoing effects on mothers

Chapter 5 - Commonwealth role: social security and benefits system (PDF 119KB)

Commonwealth constitutional head of power (s 51(xxiiiA))
Commonwealth social security legislation
Availability of information on Commonwealth social security benefits
Analysis of the benefits available

Chapter 6 - Commonwealth role: development of model legislation (PDF 165KB)

Initial adoption legislation in Australia
Model adoption legislation
Commonwealth role

Chapter 7 - Model adoption legislation: social welfare considerations (PDF 211KB)

Preparation for the initial meeting of child welfare officers
Child Welfare Ministers' goals for model adoption legislation
Public debate about adoption law reform
1960s adoption legislation
Consent provisions
Adoptive parents
Private adoption agencies
Record keeping and privacy
Offences and penalties

Chapter 8 - The need for a national framework (PDF 88KB)

Changes to adoption across Australia
Why a national framework?
Suggested content of a national framework

Chapter 9 - A national framework: apologising for past wrongs (PDF 133KB)

The need for an apology
What constitutes an effective apology
Apologies to date
What should be apologised for?
Taking responsibility
Reparation through concrete measures

Chapter 10 - A national framework: counselling and support services (PDF 110KB)

Need for counselling and mental health support services
Support services

Chapter 11 - Redress for former forced adoption policies and practices (PDF 84KB)

Formal grievance and complaint mechanisms
Legal avenues for redress

Chapter 12 - A national framework: access to information (PDF 191KB)

Registering births
Access to documentation and information management systems

Chapter 13 - Where to from here? (PDF 36KB)

Public acknowledgement and awareness
Intercountry adoption in Australia
National Principles of Adoption
Learning from the past

APPENDIX 1 - Submissions received by the committee (PDF 99KB)
APPENDIX 2 - Public hearings (PDF 33KB)
APPENDIX 3 - Additional information, correspondence and answers to questions taken on notice received and published by the committee (PDF 35KB)

Additional information
Answers to Questions on Notice

APPENDIX 4    - Australian adoption statistics 1950–2010 (PDF 134KB)

For further information, contact:

Committee Secretary
Senate Standing Committees on Community Affairs
PO Box 6100
Parliament House
Canberra ACT 2600

Phone: +61 2 6277 3515
Fax: +61 2 6277 5829