Harry Lovelock from Australian Psychological Society to present on forced adoption

Harry Lovelock, Senior Executive Manager at the Australian Psychological Society will present at the 16th International Mental Health Conference at QT Hotel, Gold Coast 12-14 August 2015.

Harry Lovelock Harry Lovelock

Abstract Title: Forced adoption and the ripple effect

The forced removal of children was the subject of a Prime Ministerial Apology in 2012 with state government apologies following thereafter. The mothers, fathers and children who were impacted by these practices have faced multiple systemic barriers when trying to find appropriate redress and access to mental health services to support them.

Adoption can be defined as 'the legal process which permanently transfers all the legal rights and responsibilities of being a parent from the child's birth parents to the adoptive parents. It requires the voluntary relinquishment of a child. The idea of an adoption being forced therefore is perplexing given legislation governing adoption was introduced as early as 1896 (in WA, with ACT being the last State in 1938). In practice however, during the post-World War II period, basic legal requirements necessary for an adoption to take place were considered a lesser priority than it was to ensure that children of unwed mothers were put up for adoption and given to deserving married and childless couples.

The Australian Psychological Society, with funding from the Australian Department of Health, is working with sector stakeholders and the professions of psychiatry, general practice, psychology, social work, mental health nursing, occupational therapy and Aboriginal health to develop training and resources for these professions to enhance and up skill clinicians working with people affected by forced adoptions. Mainstream health professionals will have access to online training, resources and guidance that advises on best practice evidenced-based diagnosis, referral, treatment and management options, including an appropriate balance of trauma-informed treatment and care approaches.

This presentation will detail the outcomes of a scoping and research paper describing the experiences and impacts of those affected by prior past adoption policies and practices, and evidence-based practice principles detailed in the Guidance document for health professionals that has been developed as part of the project.

For more information on the 16th International Mental Health Conference please visit the website here.

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