Forced adoption support services scoping study Daryl Higgins, Pauline Kenny, Reem Sweid and Lucy Ockenden Report for the Department of Social Services by the Australian Institute of Family Studies February 2014



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Forced adoption support services
scoping study


Daryl Higgins, Pauline Kenny, Reem Sweid and Lucy Ockenden

Report for the Department of Social Services
by the Australian Institute of Family Studies


February 2014

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Acknowledgements


The authors would like to thank the Department of Social Services and the Forced Adoptions Implementation Working Group for their advice and direction on the methodology for the project and, in particular, the Chair of the Working Group, Professor The Honourable Nahum Mushin, Adjunct Professor of Law, Monash University, for his support and guidance on methodology.

The authors would also like to thank colleagues at the Australian Institute of Family Studies for their valuable comments on the earlier drafts. In particular, our thanks go to Aaron Dohnt (usability testing), Sez Wilks (administrative support), Carol Jean and Gillian Lord (literature searching), Lan Wang and Lauren Di Salvia (editing), and to Kelly Hand for her support throughout the project.

Most importantly, we are grateful for the contributions of more than 100 service providers who gave of their time, intellect and creative ideas through consultations, participation in workshops and written submissions. Given that many of these people are also personally affected by forced adoptions, we acknowledge the significant personal insights they have brought, and trust that we have been faithful to the essence of their perspectives. We are most appreciative of the many agencies that helped facilitate the workshops by offering the use of meeting rooms in their organisations.

Views expressed in this publication are those of individual authors and may not reflect those of the Department of Social Services, the Australian Government or the Australian Institute of Family Studies.


About the authors


Daryl Higgins is the Deputy Director (Research), Pauline Kenny is a Research Fellow, Reem Sweid is a Senior Research Officer and Lucy Ockenden is a Research Officer, all at the Australian Institute of Family Studies.

Table of contents


Acknowledgements 2

Table of contents 4

List of tables 5

List of figures 6

Abbreviations 7

Executive summary 9

1Trauma 12

2Restorative justice 13

3Good practice principles 14

4A. Enhancing mainstream services 22

5B. Expand, enhance and build capacity in existing post-adoption support services 23

6C. Developing new—and improving existing—resources for professional development and training 24

7D. Increasing accessibility and coordination through development of a national web portal 25

8E. Community awareness and action 26

9Strategies for implementation 27

10Introduction 28

10.1Terminology and language 29

11Background 31

11.1History of forced adoption 32

11.2State inquiries into forced adoption 34

12Tasmania 35

13New South Wales 36

13.1Commonwealth Contribution to Former Forced Adoption Policies and Practices Inquiry 38

14Findings from the Senate Inquiry 39

15Responses to the Senate Inquiry 40

16Study methodology 45

16.1Literature review 46

16.2Stakeholder consultations 47

16.3Service mapping 48

16.4Environmental scan 49

16.5Service options/models for implementation 50

17A note on the terms of reference 51

18Literature review 52

18.1Framework of the literature review 53

19About the National Research Study on the Service Response to Past Adoption Practices 54

20Literature search 56

20.1The effects of forced adoptions 60

21Depression 61

22Grief and loss 62

23Pathological grief 63

24Anxiety 65

25Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) 66

26Attachment issues 69

26.1Service utilisation 70

27Information, search and contact services 71

28Counselling and mental health care services 72

29Peer support 73

30Service and support needs 74

30.1Psychological treatment interventions for those affected by forced adoptions 80

31Trauma-informed approaches 81

32Practice example: Trauma-informed services for survivors of child sexual abuse 82

33Recognising trauma symptoms 86

34Trauma-informed services 87

35Trauma-specific services 88

36biological conditions; 88

37psychological conditions; 88

38substance misuse; 88

39psychiatric conditions such as depression, anxiety and PTSD; and 88

40psychiatric conditions such as personality disorders (Bloch & Singh, 2010). 88

41biological conditions; 89

42psychological conditions; 89

43substance misuse; 89

44psychiatric conditions such as depression, anxiety and PTSD; and 89

45psychiatric conditions such as personality disorders (Bloch & Singh, 2010). 89

46Specific trauma-based interventions 90

46.1Restorative justice 110

47Restorative justice practices in areas of criminal law 111

48Daly (2011) explained: 112

49Forced adoptions, trauma healing, and restorative justice 114

50Following on from the principles of restorative justice, restoration activities could focus on: 116

51Exclusion, transparency, or reparations by providers associated with past practices 117

51.1Modes of delivery 118

52Case management model 119

53Online therapy and web-based interventions 120

54Telephone counselling and support 122

55Service hubs 123

55.1Implications for addressing current needs 124

56Good practice principles 126

57Stakeholder workshops and consultations 132

57.1Workshop content and materials 133

58Activity 1: Strengths and weaknesses 134

59Activity 2: Pathways 135

60Activity 3: Good practice principles 136

60.1Workshop recruitment 137

60.2Consultations with other stakeholders 139

61Findings from consultations: Part 1 140

61.1Accountability 141

62Restorative justice 142

63Apologies 143

64Current adoption policies 144

65Access to information 145

66Addressing illegal practices 146

66.1Accessibility 147

66.2Quality/efficacy 148

67Births, Death and Marriages registries 149

68Training 150

69Evidence-based psychological and psychiatric interventions 151

70Standards 152

70.1Diversity 153

71Fragmentation in the philosophical approach to post-adoption support services 154

72Although peer supports were often seen as a strength, two key issues emerged: 156

72.1Continuity of care 157

73Networking across agencies/sharing clients 158

74Awareness raising 159

75Service system and referral pathway 161

76Service mapping 165

76.1Service types 166

77Adoption information services 167

78Search and contact services 171

79Post-adoption support services 172

80Peer-support groups 173

81Other services 174

82Online accessibility 178

82.1Services available by state and territory 181

83Australian Capital Territory 182

84New South Wales 194

85Northern Territory 206

86Queensland 208

87South Australia 221

88Tasmania 230

89Victoria 237

90Western Australia 249

91Findings from consultations: Part 2—Specific issues for different service types/sectors 259

91.1Post-adoption support services 260

92Referrals between service providers 261

93Referrals to mental health professionals 262

94Resources and service delivery 263

95Information and support 264

96Training and research 265

96.1State and territory funded adoption information services 266

97Resources and service delivery 267

97.1Search and contact services 269

98Resources and service delivery 270

99Funding 271

100Access to information 272

101Training and research 273

102Service-system and referral pathway 274

102.1Peer-support services 275

102.2Mental health practitioners 278

103Service delivery 279

104Training and research 280

105Information and research 281

106Service-system and referral pathway 282

106.1General Practitioners (GPs) 283

107Environmental scan 284

Find and Connect service: Parallels and divergence 285

108Family Law: Professional networks and “communities of practice” 287

109Veterans 288

109.1Knowledge translation and exchange (KTE) 289

110Definition 290

111Research use in policy and practice 291

112How KTE activities help 292

113Primary KTE activities 293

114Service model options for improving supports for people affected by forced adoptions 294

114.12012 AIFS study findings regarding service options 295

114.2Service enhancement/expansion options 298

115Enhancing mainstream services 298

116Expanding/enhancing existing post-adoption specific support services 298

117Developing new—and improving existing—resources for professional development and training 298

118Increasing accessibility and coordination through development of a national web portal 298

119Community awareness and action 298

120A. Enhancing mainstream services 299

121B. Expanding/enhancing existing post-adoption specific support services 302

122C. Resources for professional development and training 310

123D. Accessibility and coordination: Development of a national web portal 311

124E. Community awareness and action 313

124.1Web implementation options 314

125Expand Find & Connect website 315

126Integrate as part of a “clearinghouse” or knowledge translation and exchange service 316

127Web portal implementation 318

127.1Broader service delivery implementation implications 319

127.2Local network implementation options 321

128Implementation considerations 322

128.1Peak vs diversity 323

128.2Existing vs new service providers 324

128.3Information vs therapy 325

128.4General vs specialist 326

128.5Professional expertise vs personal experience 327

128.6Individual vs systemic responses 328

128.7Trauma model vs grief/attachment 329

128.8Scope of knowledge translation/exchange functions 330

128.9Role of National Committee of Post-Adoption Service Providers 331

128.10Organisational capacity vs service delivery 332

128.11National vs jurisdictional specific 333

129References 334

References continued 335

130References continued 337

131References continued 339

132References continued 341

133References continued 343

Attachment A: Senate Committee recommendations 345

Recommendation 1 346

Recommendation 2 347

Recommendation 3 348

Attachment B: Commonwealth Government response to Senate Inquiry recommendations 366

Attachment B: Commonwealth Government response to Senate Inquiry recommendations 366

Recommendation 1 367

134Response to recommendation 1 368

135Recommendation 2 369

136Recommendation 3 371

137Recommendation 4 373

138Recommendation 5 374

139Recommendation 6 376

140Recommendation 7 378

141Recommendation 8 380

142Recommendation 9 382

143Recommendation 10 384

144Recommendation 11 386

145Recommendation 12 387

146Recommendation 13 389

147Recommendation 14 390

148Recommendation 15 392

149Recommendation 16 394

150Recommendation 17 396

151Recommendation 18 398

152Recommendation 19 400

153Recommendation 20 402

Attachment C: Workshop Activity 1 worksheet 404

Attachment C: Workshop Activity 1 worksheet 404

Attachment D: Workshop Activity 3 worksheet 406

Attachment D: Workshop Activity 3 worksheet 406

154Response format: 408

Attachment E: Support service agencies approached 410

Attachment E: Support service agencies approached 410

Attachment F: Letter of introduction sent to stakeholders 419

Attachment F: Letter of introduction sent to stakeholders 419

Attachment G: Draft guidelines for good practice in forced adoption support service delivery 421

Attachment G: Draft guidelines for good practice in forced adoption support service delivery 421

Attachment H: Adoption Information Provided by State 428

Attachment H: Adoption Information Provided by State 428

Attachment I: Tasmanian Department of Health and Human Services: Adoptions and Permanency Services 431

Statement of Purpose 432

Attachment J: Government website usability testing 433

Attachment J: Government website usability testing 433

Attachment K: Overview of search tools (including electoral rolls) 434

Attachment K: Overview of search tools (including electoral rolls) 434

Attachment L: Information sheets, publications, training and resources 435

Attachment L: Information sheets, publications, training and resources 435

155Adoption Jigsaw, WA 437

156Past Adoption Resource Centre (PARC), Benevolent Society, NSW 438

157Centacare, TAS 440

158Children and Youth Services, Department of Health and Human Services, Tas. 441

159Department of Child Protection and Family Support, WA 442

160Family Information Networks and Discovery (FIND), Department of Human Services, Vic. 443

161Adoptions and Permanent Care Unit, Department of Community Services, ACT 444

162Adoption Information Unit, Department of Family and Community Services, NSW 445

163Relationships Australia, SA 446

164VANISH, Vic. (information pages for professionals and consumers) 447

165Salvation Army, NSW 448

166PARC training program 450

167VANISH training program 451

168Other training programs 452

169Information and Resource Kit—Post Adoption Resource Centre (PARC) 454

170VANISH guides 455

171Selecting and Working With a Therapist Skilled in Adoption 456

Attachment M: Terms of reference—National Committee of Post-Adoption Service Providers 457

Attachment M: Terms of reference—National Committee of Post-Adoption Service Providers 457





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