Forced Adoption Practices

National apology to people affected by forced adoption practicesNational Apology for Forced Adoptions logo

On 21 March 2013, the Prime Minister apologised on behalf of the Australian Government to people affected by forced adoption or removal policies and practices. The national apology was delivered in the Great Hall of Parliament House, Canberra. The full transcript of the speech is available online.

Following the event in the Great Hall, motions of apology were moved in the House of Representatives and in the Senate. Find out more about the National Apology at the Attorney-General’s Department website.

Australian Government Response to the Senate Inquiry

The Government’s response to the recommendations of the Senate Inquiry Report into Former Forced Adoption Policies and Practices was also announced on 21 March 2013.

The Australian Government has invested $11.5 million over the next four years to assist those affected by forced adoption practices.

  • $5 million to improve access to specialist support services, peer and professional counselling and supported records tracing for those affected by forced adoptions
  • $5 million to:
    • develop guidelines and training materials for mental health professionals to assist in the diagnosis, treatment and care of those affected by forced adoption practices
    • increase capacity under the Access to Allied Psychological Services (ATAPs) program, for general practitioners to refer those affected by forced adoption practices with a mild to moderate mental disorder to mental health professionals who deliver focussed psychological strategies services
  • $1.5 million for a website and exhibition by the National Archives of Australia to record the experiences of those affected by forced adoption and increase awareness and understanding of these experiences in the community.

If a person wishes to access the ATAPS services, they should approach their GP.

For more information on the Forced Adoptions History Project, contact the National Archives of Australia.

The Government, through DSS, will determine what service types will best meet the ongoing needs of people affected by past forced adoption policies and practices. DSS will work with key stakeholders and state and territory governments to identify what will work to best link people to the services they need. While it will take time to improve access to specialist services and records tracing support, the end result will better achieve service integration and complement what is already available.

More Information

Forced Adoptions Implementation Working Group

Support services

Scoping study and research

For more information about the Forced Adoptions Implementation Working Group, the Australian Government response to the Senate Inquiry recommendations or to register for our email distribution list, contact

Content Updated: 15 April 2014