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Parliament will reflect on the pain of forced adoptions


Mothers and families affected by forced adoptions will be remembered in Parliament when the federal government announces additional funding for support services.

Tuesday marks the 10th anniversary of the national apology for forced adoptions, delivered by former Prime Minister Julia Gillard.

Tens of thousands of young single mothers and their babies were affected by the illegal practice between the 1950s and 1980s.

Unmarried and often young Australian women were forced to give up their newborn babies for adoption.

Ms Gillard’s landmark statement in 2013 apologized unreservedly for forced adoptions, denounced the practices as “reprehensible and inexcusable”, acknowledged the lifelong pain they caused and pledged to support affected Australians.

Social Services Minister Amanda Rishworth said the suffering of people who had experienced forced adoption had not gone away.

“The pain and suffering associated with forced adoption practices last a lifetime,” he said.

“The mother-baby bond was broken, as many mothers were pressured into giving up their newborn babies or having their babies taken away through immoral, unethical and, above all, illegal practices.

“For some people, the pain is still ahead. There are adults today who are only now, in middle age, realizing that they were separated from their parents.”

To coincide with the anniversary, the government announced an additional $700,000 in funding for trauma-informed support services.

Ms Rishworth said the new funding would strengthen current supports available by training forced adoption, allied health and elder care support service providers to ensure they can provide trauma-informed and specific care.

“This will mean that people affected by forced adoption will be able to access appropriate care, tailored to their needs, at whatever stage of life they are in,” he said.

There is almost $2 million in annual funding for support services including a national helpline, social assistance, family tracing services and access to counselling.

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