Historically there were interventions into families that were extremely unwise and as a result many people today feel disconnected from their families. During these dark days there was essentially two groups of people who had their children removed from them: (a) any Aboriginal child that came to the department attention was systematically removed from their parents; (b) any non aboriginal child born out of wedlock that came to the departments attention was removed from their mother.
The purpose of the removal of Aboriginal children from their parents was to create a break between the child and the Aboriginal culture; this was and remains an appalling reason for any intervention by the governments of that day, an undisclosed number of persons were affected by this appalling policy and in recent years there have been some attempts to compensate survivors from this appalling policy. Unfortunately the handling of this compensation process has only had a low level success rate and the historical anger has not been dealt with effectively, in fact there is evidence that the anger is in some places increasing. Greater care and attention to the details of the recovery from this appalling situation must be implemented so as to demonstrate that all Aboriginal people in Australia are equal in every way to all other Australians. We have not as yet done that in a balanced and culturally sensitive way. The development of the “Sorry Generation” has not assisted in recovery but rather increasing the social disharmony between communities.
The purpose of the removal of non Aboriginal children was to prevent the rise of single parent families, because at the time is was deemed that all children must have a father and a mother, yet there were many families where a spouse was left by themselves due to divorce, separation, death and abandonment and none of these things were taken into consideration by the members of the parliament at the time. This again was and remains an appalling situation. Thankfully there were not as many children affected by this program. Historically to avoid the government Department, a young unmarried pregnant woman would be sent away to more remote circumstances (usually a farm environment) and a relative would register the birth of the child as if they were the mother of the child, in this way the actual mother could have direct contact with their child. This government policy again has caused many real issues to those involved and caught up within this appalling policy. Thankfully it has been discontinued a long time ago.
The residual issues from these appalling actions must be delt with sensively and carefully but case by case so that the past hurt is extungished in the best way possible.