Queensland looks at apologising for forced adoptions

Date: Aug 28, 2012

A Queensland panel is discussing under what circumstances it would be acceptable to remove children from their parents in what is known as a ‘parendectomy’.

The Child Protection Inquiry has looked at the idea and is seriously considering action in cases where children are under the care of unfit parents, such as those with a drug addiction.

Corelle Davies, the child safety director of Queensland Health, told News Limited this was a difficult but necessary step.

"Whether we're bold enough to make it, and I'm sure there will be a lot of parental rights people who will say that that's not the way to go, but I'm not seeing, especially with these very young children, that we're doing the right thing by them," she said.

It comes as the Queensland government looks set to issue an apology to children who were involved in forced adoptions.

Premier Campbell Newman read out in parliament, the story of Angela Barra, a woman in his constituency who’d written to him about how she was removed from her teenage mother and as a result, now suffers with anxiety.

The QLD government, as a result of these practises occurring between the 1950s and 1970s, is now considering a formal apology.

"While we cannot change what happened in the past, we hope an apology will acknowledge the role of past Queensland governments and practices now recognised as wrong," Mr Newman told parliament yesterday.

It is not known what the exact number is but it’s estimated that up to 150,000 babies were removed from their mothers at birth.

A senate committee which looked into this issue at the beginning of this year found that most adopted children did not have a positive experience when they were put into a different custody arrangement.

Some of those who contributed to the committee’s inquiry put forward the notion that their adoptive parents weren’t properly vetted and that had they undergone a psychological evaluation, they wouldn’t have been allowed to care for children who’d been forcibly removed from their biological mothers.

One of the recommendations to arise from this committee is that the Commonwealth commissions a documentary about those who were apart of the forced adoption system to educate people about their experiences.

Another suggested that while the Commonwealth takes a minimal amount of responsibility, they remain responsible for amending the situation and issue a full and proper apology.