Interim Report on Inquiry into Adoption Practices
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In June 1998 the Minister for Community Services, the Hon Faye Lo Po’, MP, asked the Standing Committee on Social Issues to inquire into the professional practices in the administration and delivery of adoption and related services in New South Wales from 1950 to 1998. Once the Terms of Reference were received, advertisements were placed in a number of newspapers inviting members of the public and relevant agencies to make written submissions to the Inquiry. By mid November 1998 the Committee had received 246 submissions.
Public hearings commenced in August 1998. Four days of hearings have been held. Those appearing before the Committee included mothers (and one father) whose children were adopted, representatives from the Departments of Health and Community Services, the Australian Association of Social Workers, the Post-Adoption Resource Centre and several church-related adoption agencies. This Interim Report is made up of the transcripts of those hearings. You will notice that to maintain the confidentiality of some mothers their real names are not revealed.
Throughout this Inquiry there has been considerable media interest. Articles have been run in a number of newspapers ranging from the Australian to smaller regional and suburban papers. The public hearings have featured on nightly television news broadcasts and current affairs programs both in New South Wales and interstate. Over one hundred members of the public have attended each public hearing.
The NSW Parliament will be prorogued before the end of the year in the lead up to the March 1999 state election. Once this occurs, Parliamentary Committees are unable to conduct any official business such as holding hearings to take evidence. The Committee will use the period from December 1998 to April 1999 to conduct background research, undertake a detailed analysis of the submissions received and prepare some of the introductory chapters of the final report.
It is expected that following the election the Committee will recommence hearings around May 1999. The Committee anticipates taking further evidence from parents, children, adoption agencies and government agencies. At that time, we will write to all those on our mailing list informing them of the hearing dates.
The Committee has decided to release the transcripts of the public hearings held to date. The release of the transcripts from public hearings is an unprecedented step for this Committee. The Committee has made this decision for a number of reasons. Members are very conscious that, for many people, involvement in this Inquiry has been difficult and very emotional. Some people find they are overwhelmed at the hearings and, much to their frustration, unable to remember all that is said. Others have requested access to the transcripts so they can use the information provided to make supplementary submissions. There is considerable interest in the Inquiry from people living interstate and overseas who are unable to attend the hearings. Providing the transcripts to these people will, it is hoped, help them feel part of the process.
The following PDF files contain:
intro.pdf - This introduction
27Aug98.pdf - TRANSCRIPTS OF EVIDENCE 27 AUGUST 1998
30Sep98.pdf - TRANSCRIPTS OF EVIDENCE 30 SEPTEMBER1998
02Sep98.pdf - TRANSCRIPTS OF EVIDENCE 2 SEPTEMBER 1998
19Oct98.pdf - TRANSCRIPTS OF EVIDENCE 19 OCTOBER 1998
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No Government response to this report was requested.