Commonwealth Department of Social Services
What is forced adoption?
In Australia’s past, adoption of children of unwed mothers and fathers was common. Adoption numbers peaked between 1951 and 1971, when approximately 150,000 adoptions occurred. Many of these adoptions were arranged without willing or informed consent, and unwed pregnant women had little or no choice about what would happen to their babies. These adoptions were unethical, dishonest and in many cases illegal, and are therefore considered ‘forced’.
The Forced Adoption Support Service (FASS)
The FASS is a specialist support service for people affected by past forced adoption policies and practices. It aims to improve access to records and provide referrals to professional counselling, peer support and family tracing services.
Services are available through funded organisations in each state and territory to support adopted people, mothers, fathers, siblings, and extended family members affected by forced adoption.
Review of the FASS
AHA has been engaged by the Australian Government Department of Social Services (DSS) to conduct a post-implementation review of the FASS.
We will consult with a wide range of people and organisations including:
The review will include:
These consultations will guide our review findings to DSS, which will help inform future service delivery.
If you are over 18 years old and have been affected by past forced adoption policies and practices, we’d like to hear from you about your experience of any support services that are available.
We’d like to hear from you irrespective of whether you’ve used the Forced Adoption Support Service or not.
If you would prefer to complete the survey by phone, please call AHA on 1300 242 111 and ask for a member of our survey team.
We understand that past forced adoption practices have affected people in different ways and that your experience is unique. We appreciate that completing this survey may be difficult and we thank you in advance for your participation.
If you have any questions about the review or the survey please call AHA (1300 242 111) and speak with Trish O’Connor, or email her at firstname.lastname@example.org
Further information about forced adoption and services for those impacted by forced adoption is available here:
Services support adopted people, mothers, fathers, siblings, and extended family members affected by forced adoption.