Forced Adoption Support Services for people affected by past forced adoption policies and practices
Providers of support services funded by the Australian Government
The Department of Social Services (DSS) funds seven organisations to provide coordinated specialist support services across Australia for people affected by past forced adoption policies and practices. The Forced Adoption Support Services organisations are listed in the table below.
|NSW and ACT||Relationships Australia
(NSW) Relationships Australia Canberra & Region Inc (auspiced by Relationships Australia NSW)
|Sydney, Wagga Wagga, and other outreach locations in NSW, and Canberra, ACT with state/territory-wide
Northern Territory Inc
|Darwin and/ Alice Springs, NT (face-to-face), with territory-wide phone service|
|QLD||Jigsaw Queensland Inc||Brisbane, QLD with state-wide
|Adelaide, SA with state-wide
|Hobart, TAS with state-wide
|Ballarat/Sunshine (Melbourne), VIC with
state-wide phone service
(Western Australia) Inc
|Perth, WA with state-wide
These organisations deliver specialist support to people affected by forced adoptions through:
- a national helpline: 1800 21 03 13 (which represents the date of the National Apology for Forced Adoptions) - calls made from a mobile phone may incur additional costs. The helpline is answered locally and available weekdays from 9 am to 5 pm
- referrals and information based on individual needs
- where possible, face to face support, casework, emotional support, records tracing, assistance with family searching and intermediary services, group activities, peer support, and therapeutic counselling or referral to therapeutic counselling if required, and
- administering small grants to build sector capacity and enhance group healing activities to support people affected by forced adoptions, where appropriate/possible.
Forced Adoption Support Services work to improve access to counselling for people affected by forced adoption. Counselling may be offered where services have the expertise and capacity. Where a therapeutic counselling service is not able to be provided directly, appropriate warm referrals are made to suitable services where possible. Please call 1800 21 03 13 to discuss what support may be available to you.
The services complement existing supports provided by the state and territory governments.
Resources and Fact Sheets
Additional resources and fact sheets are available, including:
- Services matrix - Forced Adoption Support Services – this provides a summary of services offered by each Forced Adoption Support Service.
- Fact sheet - Supporting people affected by forced adoptions – this was developed so that anyone assisting people affected by forced adoption can have an understanding of the issues and an awareness of particular sensitivities.
- Fact sheet - History and experiences of forced adoption – this was developed to increase awareness about Australia’s past forced adoption practices and to increase understanding of what forced adoption is.
Additional support services
The organisations listed below are provided for information only. It is up to each individual to identify the services that are most appropriate to their needs.
Below is a list of organisations who may be able to assist with general counselling. This list is not exhaustive.
- Lifeline – 24 hour telephone crisis support service is available to anyone needing emotional support on one national number – 13 11 14
- Beyond Blue – 1300 224 636
- Mensline – 1300 789 978
- Relationships Australia – 1300 364 277
Mental Health Services
People affected by forced adoptions with a diagnosed mental disorder can access mental health services through Primary Health Networks (PHNs) or Medicare subsidised services under the Better Access initiative.
From 1 July 2015, following implementation of the Australian Government’s mental health reforms, funding for a number of mental health programs, including the former Access to Allied Psychological Services (ATAPS) program is now provided to PHNs to lead mental health and suicide prevention planning at a regional level.
Through a new flexible primary mental health care funding pool, PHNs improve outcomes for people with or at risk of mental illness and/or suicide, in partnership with relevant services.
Contact details for all PHNs can be found using the PHN map locator.
Australian Capital Territory
- Family Information Service, Office for Children, Youth and Family Support – 02 6207 1335
- Relationships Australia Canberra and Region – 1300 364 277
- Post Adoption Services (NSW) – Benevolent Society – 1800 236 762
New South Wales
- Adoption Information Unit, Department of Family and Community Services – 1300 799 023 (local call from within NSW and ACT); 02 9716 3005 (from other states)
- Origins (NSW) – 02 9725 7723
- Post Adoption Services (NSW) – Benevolent Society – 1800 236 762
- Relationships Australia NSW – 1300 364 277
- International Social Service Australia – NSW Special Search Service – 1300 657 843
- Adoption and Permanent Care Services, Department of Child Safety, Youth and Women – 07 3097 5100 or 1800 647 983 (free call within Queensland)
- ALAS Australia Inc (previously ALAS QLD: Adoption Loss Adult Support) – 0417 077 159
- Association for Adoptees – 0417 706 681
- Jigsaw Queensland – 07 3358 6666
- Origins (QLD) – 0403 169 509
- Post Adoption Services QLD – Benevolent Society – 07 3170 4600 or 1800 236 762
- Post Adoption Support Services (PASS), Relationships Australia SA – 08 8245 8100
- Relationships Australia SA – 1300 364 277
- Department for Child Protection – Adoption
- Adoptions and Permanency Services, Department of Health and Human Services – 03 6166 0422 or 1300 135 513
- CatholicCare Tasmania – 03 6278 1660
- Past Adoption Support Service, Relationships Australia Tasmania – 1300 364 277
- Relationships Australia Tasmania – 1300 364 277
- Anglicare Victoria – 1800 809 722
- Association of Relinquishing Mothers (ARMS) – 03 9769 0232
- CatholicCare (Adoption and Permanent Care) – 03 9287 5500
- Family Information Networks and Discovery, Department of Human Services – 1300 769 926 (local call cost) or 1800 130 225 (national free call)
- Independent Regional Mothers Group of Victoria – 03 5144 7638
- Origins Victoria Inc – 03 9812 0215
- Relationships Australia Vic – 1300 364 277
- Connections UnitingCare (Adoption and Permanent Care Program) – 1800 086 099
- VANISH Inc (Victorian Adoption Network for Information and Self Help) – 1300 826 474
- Adoption Jigsaw WA – 08 9328 4000
- Adoption Research and Counselling Service (ARCS) – 08 9370 4914
- Adoption Support for Families & Children Inc (ASFC) – 08 9489 4008
- Association Representing Mothers Separated from their Children by Adoption Inc (ARMS) – 08 9312 1999
- Fostering and Adoption Services, Department for Child Protection and Family Support – 08 9286 5200 or 1800 182 178 (free call)
- Relationships Australia WA – 1300 364 277
Link-Up Services help Indigenous Australians separated from their families. National contacts are available through the Australian Institute of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Studies website or by calling 1800 624 332
Find and Connect
The Australian Government has set up a national network of Find and Connect support services to assist Forgotten Australians and Former Child Migrants, including:
- specialist trauma informed counselling
- referral services
- peer, education and social support programs
- assistance to locate and access records and reconnect with family members (where possible).
Those who may identify as Forgotten Australians spent their childhood or periods of time as children in children's homes, orphanages and other forms of out-of-home “care” in the last century (up until the end of 1989). Former Child Migrants arrived in Australia through historical child migration schemes (up until 1970) and were also subsequently placed in homes and orphanages.
International Social Service Australia provides a post-adoption and general family tracing and reunification service, for those who wish to locate an immediate family member who is thought to be in another country – 1300 657 843
- Forced Adoption Practices
- Forced Adoptions Implementation Working Group
- Forced Adoption Support Services – Operational Guidelines
- Services matrix – Forced adoption Support Services
- Supporting people affected by forced adoption – fact sheet
- History and experiences of forced adoption – fact sheet