Improving Aged Care for Forgotten Australians
This page is about the Forgotten Australians - who they are, their special needs, and a range of government initiatives including the Improving Aged Care for Forgotten Australians project.
- Forgotten Australians
- The Apology
- Australian Government Services and Supports for Forgotten Australians
- Improving Aged Care for Forgotten Australians - Development of a National Educational Package for Service Providers
- Support for Forgotten Australians
Forgotten AustraliansForgotten Australians include care-leavers, former child migrants and people from the Stolen Generations. Care-leaver means a person who was in institutional care or other form of out-of-home care, including foster care, as a child or youth (or both) at some time during the 20th century.
There have been reported instances of neglect, exploitation and mistreatment, as well as physical and sexual assault of Forgotten Australians. Forgotten Australians were separated from their families and communities and have experienced a sense of abandonment, loss and grief.
In 2003-04, the Senate Community Affairs Reference Committee held an inquiry known as Children in Institutional Care. A report containing 39 recommendations and titled Forgotten Australians – a report on Australians who experienced institutional or out of home care as children was tabled on 30 August 2004.
Subsequently, the Senate Committee released its Report on the progress with the implementation of the recommendations of the Lost Innocents and Forgotten Australians Reports in June 2009. The Senate report detailed the trauma and suffering of many Forgotten Australians and former child migrants from a system that did not adequately provide for, or protect children in its care and recommended a formal statement of acknowledgement and apology.
The ApologyOn 16 November 2009, the then prime minister, Kevin Rudd, issued a formal statement of acknowledgement and apology on behalf of the nation to the Forgotten Australians. The apology acknowledged that the treatment of these children was unacceptable and conveyed a sincere hope that the national acknowledgement of the trauma they experienced would help to begin the healing process. The apology acknowledged that what happened in the past was both real and wrong. A transcript of the apology can be found on the former prime minister’s archived website
The Department of Families, Housing, Community Services and Indigenous Affairs (FaHCSIA) has compiled a list of questions and answers about the apology to the Forgotten Australians and Former Child Migrants, which can be viewed on the FaHCSIA website.
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Australian Government Services and Supports for Forgotten AustraliansA number of initiatives have been announced aimed at meeting the service and support needs of Forgotten Australians. The first was to identify Forgotten Australians as a special needs group under aged care legislation. This was achieved through an amendment to the Allocation Principles 1997 which took effect from 1 December 2009 to include ‘care-leavers’ as people with special needs. This will ensure the needs of Forgotten Australians are considered in the planning and allocation of aged care places.
Other Australian Government initiatives for Forgotten Australians include:
Improving Aged Care for Forgotten AustraliansThrough the Improving Aged Care for Forgotten Australians project, a National Education Package is being developed to help service providers in the aged care sector recognise the special needs of Forgotten Australians and provide appropriate and responsive care, including access to counselling and support services.
A National Find and Connect ServiceAn Australia-wide family tracing and support service for Forgotten Australians will be developed to locate personal and family history files and assist Forgotten Australians to reunite with members of their families, where possible.
The service will provide a national database that will collate and index existing state identified records into a national searchable database, accessible to state and other care-leaver services and also directly to care-leavers themselves.
History ProjectsTwo key history projects will help scholars, support organisations, the community, Forgotten Australians and former child migrants and their families to better understand, reflect on and remember the experiences of those children who experienced physical and emotional abuse while in care. Further information about these projects can be found at the Forgotten Australians history website.Top of page
Improving Aged Care for Forgotten Australians - Development of a National Educational Package for Service ProvidersThe experiences of Forgotten Australians while in institutional or out-of-home care may affect their ongoing well-being and have an impact on those who need to access aged care services or enter an aged care facility later in life.
Through the Improving Aged Care for Forgotten Australians project, a National Education Package for service providers is being developed by the Department of Health and Ageing in close consultation with Forgotten Australians, service providers and other key stakeholders. A reference group comprising Forgotten Australians, care-leavers, former child migrants, support groups, aged care service providers and peak organisations was established to guide the project.
The National Education Package will include specific educational material to support the aged care sector to better identify and meet the needs of Forgotten Australians. Importantly, the Package will present service providers with the knowledge and tools to deliver quality services in a way that is appropriate and responsive to the needs of Forgotten Australians.
The development of the National Education Package is being undertaken in four stages:
Stage 1: initial scoping and consultation with stakeholders
Stage 2: finalisation of content and components, then printing and production of materials
Stage 3: distribution of the Package to service providers and peak bodies in the aged care sector
Stage 4: evaluation
The Department of Health and Ageing engaged Healthcare Management Advisors (HMA) to conduct Stage 1 of the project, which has now been completed. The objectives of Stage 1 were to:
- establish how best to identify Forgotten Australians;
- identify gaps in information and knowledge of service providers;
- determine the content of the National Education Package, what it might include and look like;
- determine how best to disseminate the National Education Package; and
- identify which service providers would benefit from the National Education Package.
Focus groups for Forgotten Australians and aged care service providers were held nationally during July and August 2010. Online and telephone surveys were available to those Forgotten Australians who were unable to attend a focus group.
Additional targeted consultations were held with service providers that were not represented in sufficient numbers at the focus groups, and with organisations that specialise in the design and delivery of education to the aged care sector and special needs groups.
The consultations focused on the following key areas:Top of page
Should there be a formal process to identify Forgotten Australians for the purposes of providing aged care services?Most Forgotten Australians who participated in the consultations agreed that there should be a formal process in place to identify them as Forgotten Australians so that they did not have to keep repeating their story to service providers. It was recognised that any decision about whether or not to formally identify as a Forgotten Australian was entirely up to the individual, and that any process for identification would need to be sensitive and flexible to allow people to disclose information when they were ready.
Most service providers considered that formal identification would be beneficial and would help them to recognise and respond appropriately to the needs of Forgotten Australians. They agreed that the process for identifying Forgotten Australians would need to be sufficiently flexible to allow this information to be disclosed at different stages of the care delivery process.
Gaps in information and knowledge of service providersAlmost all service providers attending the focus groups indicated that they had a limited knowledge of Forgotten Australians. Most service providers agreed that they would benefit from specific information about Forgotten Australians and their aged care needs.
National Education Package contentTo help service providers understand the needs of Forgotten Australians, the following content headings were identified for the National Education Package:
- History and experiences of Forgotten Australians
- Triggers that might cause distress for Forgotten Australians
- Potential reactions by Forgotten Australians to these triggers
- How service providers can provide care that is responsive and appropriate to the special needs of Forgotten Australians
Distribution of the National Education Package to aged care service providersService providers reported that the National Education Package could be promoted through a range of methods such as newsletters, websites and email. For effective dissemination of the National Education Package, it was suggested that aged care peak bodies should also be involved in targeting and promoting the Package.
A link to the Executive Summary and Key Findings from HMA’s Final Report is provided below:
Executive Summary and Key Findings (PDF 92 KB)
Next StepsThe National Education Package for Service Providers is now being developed which involves finalising the content and components of the Package ready for printing and production (Stage 2), distribution (Stage 3) and evaluation (Stage 4).
The project will move ahead with the continued involvement of the Improving Aged Care for Forgotten Australians Reference Group and other key stakeholders in the aged care and related education sectors.
Support for Forgotten AustraliansIf you would like to talk to someone about your experiences or are interested in finding out more about local support services that are available, please contact one of the organisations listed below and they will assist with your enquiry:
- Care Leavers Australia Network 1800 008 774
- Child Migrants Trust (03) 9815 2022 (VIC) and (08) 9472 7582 (WA)
- International Association of Former Child Migrants and Their Families (03) 9348 1354
- Alliance for Forgotten Australians
- Helping close the gap through innovative home visit program
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