Forced Adoption Support Services for people affected by past forced adoption policies and practices

Forced Adoption Support Services

To contact the Forced Adoption Support Service in your state or territory, call 1800 21 03 13

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
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
phone services
NT Relationships Australia,
Northern Territory Inc
Darwin and/ Alice Springs, NT, with territory-wide phone service
QLD Jigsaw Queensland Inc Brisbane, QLD with state-wide
phone service
SA Relationships Australia
(SA) Inc
Adelaide, SA with state-wide
phone service
TAS Relationships Australia
Tasmania Incorporated
Hobart, TAS with state-wide
phone service
VIC Relationships Australia
(Victoria) Inc
Ballarat, Boronia, Cranbourne,
Greensborough, Kew, Shepparton,
Sunshine and Traralgon in Vic with
State-wide phone services
WA Relationships Australia
(Western Australia) Inc
Perth, WA with state-wide
phone service

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.

For further information, view the Operational Guidelines, and search the DSS Grants Service Directory for information on services as grants and funding becomes available.

Resources and Fact Sheets

Additional resources and fact sheets are available, including:

Additional support services

The Australian Government funds Forced Adoption Support Services (i.e. the 7 organisations listed in the table above) to complement and enhance existing services funded by the state and territory governments, and other 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.

General counselling

Below is a list of organisations who may be able to assist with general counselling. This list is not exhaustive.

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

New South Wales

Northern Territory


South Australia



Western Australia

Indigenous agencies

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 (also known as Care Leavers) 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.

The Find & Connect web resource is for Forgotten Australians, Care Leavers, Former Child Migrants and everyone with an interest in the history of out-of-home ‘care’ in Australia. For more information, see


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

More Information

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