Forced Adoptions Reparations Scheme

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Announced in August 2022, the Forced Adoptions Reparations Scheme will provide access to financial reparations for Aboriginal mothers impacted by forced adoptions in Victoria before 1985.

The Forced Adoptions Reparations Scheme acknowledges the immense trauma and suffering caused by forcible adoptions policies and practices. While no amount of financial reparations will ever compensate for the grief and trauma suffered, it will be an important part of the healing journey for many Aboriginal mothers, fathers and families.

The Victorian government defines forced adoptions as referring to past practices that forcibly separated mothers and their babies. Not all of these practices resulted in adoption. These practices usually occurred in an institution, such as a hostel or hospital. Practices included:

  • Sending mothers to maternity homes with harsh conditions
  • Forcibly restraining mothers when they gave birth
  • Immediately separating them from their newborn babies against their will, and
  • Pressuring or coercing mothers into signing consent forms.

The full reparations scheme will take some time for the Victorian Government to deliver. The first stage of the scheme is the Forced Adoptions Exceptional Circumstances Fund.

Exceptional Circumstances Fund

The Forced Adoptions Exceptional Circumstances Fund has been set up alongside the Forced Adoptions Reparations Scheme, and gives eligible claimants access to a one-off payment of up to $10,000. Please watch this video to learn more about the Fund, how to apply, and where to get help.

 

Can I Apply?

The Forced Adoptions Exceptional Circumstances Fund is the first stage of the scheme. You may be able to apply if:

  • You are a mother whose child/children were forcibly adopted between the 1950s and 1980s in Victoria, and
  • You are experiencing exceptional circumstances or are terminally ill.

If you have been impacted by forced adoptions in Victoria and don’t meet the requirements for the Exceptional Circumstances Fund, you will still be eligible for next phase of the Forced Adoptions Reparations Scheme.

How do I Apply?

There is an online application process that VACCA can help you with. Your application will need to include:

  • A supporting letter from a doctor, counsellor, psychologist, lawyer or support worker. This can be your VACCA or Link-Up worker.
  • The supporting letter and application must demonstrate the urgency of your circumstances and how this funding will help you.

The first stage fund is limited so we encourage you to apply as soon as you can.

Where can I get more support and information?

VACCA and Link-Up Victoria are here to support you.

For more information and guidance around accessing the payment, we encourage all Aboriginal mothers affected by forced adoptions to indicate your interest in attending a yarning circle that will be held later in the year, by contacting us via linkup@vacca.org or 1800 OUR MOB (1800 687 662).

Further support is available:

This fact sheet is for Aboriginal mothers who have been impacted by forced adoptions in Victoria before 1985. It will help you to understand and apply for the Forced Adoptions Exceptional Circumstances Fund.

Download a copy of the Exceptional Circumstances Fact Sheet.

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people should be aware that this website may contain images, voices or names of deceased persons in photographs, film, audio recordings or printed material. To listen to our Acknowledgement of Country, click here.