Inquiry Adoption Practices in New South Wales
- Inquiry Type
- Legislative Council Social Issues Committee
- Australia; New South Wales
- 1950 - 1998
- Period of investigation
- 25 May 1998
- Announcement date
- June 1998 - December 2000
- Period of operation
- 27 August 1998 - 25 October 1999
- Public hearings
- 19 November 1998
- Interim Report
- 21 June 1999
- Interim Report
- 8 December 1999
- Final Report
This Parliamentary Committee was established to inquire into the administration and delivery of adoption related services, particularly services around the taking of consents, offered to birth parents and children in the state of New South Wales (NSW) from 1950 to 1998. The Inquiry sought to ascertain whether these services involved unethical or unlawful practices that denied birth parents access to non adoption alternatives. The inquiry also set out to consider what services would help those hurt by such practices.
The Committee received written submissions, held public hearings and a public forum, and conducted original research.
Legislative Council Standing Orders
State government of NSW
Australia; New South Wales; Sydney
Public hearings were held in Sydney.
306 submissions, predominantly from survivors.
A consultant historian was engaged to conduct archival research, in particular to examine archival records.
The Committee Secretariat conducted background research.
28 survivors (mothers, fathers and adopted people) participated in a one day adoption forum held on 18 October 1999.
23 of the 57 witnesses in the public hearings were survivors. The remainder were representatives of providers and support organisations along with a small number of experts.
Of the survivor witnesses, 20 were female and 3 were male.
Maternity homes and maternity hospitals are discussed but are not the focus of the Committee's report. The institutions examined by the inquiry are single sex maternity homes and hospitals.
20 recommendations were made.The Report recommended improvements in the delivery of current adoption services and post adoption information resources, including funding for post adoption support services, parent support groups and research on impacts of past practices, removing bars to reunion, apologies and public education campaigns.
The inquiry informs the Senate Inquiry into Forced Adoptions
- Parliament of New South Wales Legislative Council Standing Committee on Social Issues, Parliamentary Paper Number 600, Releasing the Past: Adoption Practices 1950-1998 Final Report, Parliamentary Paper Number 600, Report 22 edn, December 2000. Also available at https://www.parliament.nsw.gov.au/committees/DBAssets/InquiryReport/ReportAcrobat/5540/Report.PDF. Details
- Parliament of New South Wales Legislative Council Standing Committee on Social Issues, Government Response to Releasing the Past: Adoption Practices 1950-1998. Also available at https://www.parliament.nsw.gov.au/committees/DBAssets/InquiryReport/GovernmentResponse/5540/Adoption%20Government%20Response_1.PDF. Details
- Parliament of New South Wales Legislative Council Standing Committee on Social Issues, Inquiry into Adoption Practices: Transcripts of Evidence from 27 August 1998 to 9 October 1998, Parliamentary Paper No. 478, Report 17 edn, November 1998. Also available at https://www.parliament.nsw.gov.au/committees/DBAssets/InquiryReport/ReportAcrobat/5539/intro.pdf. Details
- Parliament of New South Wales Legislative Council Standing Committee on Social Issues, Report on Adoption Practices Second Interim Report: Transcripts of Evidence 16 June 1999- 25 October 1999, Parliamentary Paper No. 366, Report 21 edn, June 2000. Also available at https://www.parliament.nsw.gov.au/committees/DBAssets/InquiryReport/ReportAcrobat/6014/Interim%20Committee%20Report%2021%20June%202000%20-%20Inquiry%20in.pdf. Details
- Christine A. Cole (ed.), Releasing the past: mothers' stories of their stolen babies, Sasko Veljanov, Yagoona, N.S.W., 2008. Details
Acknowledgement: this summary was prepared by Shurlee Swain, Australian Catholic University