Training development

In January 2015, following an open tender process, the APS was contracted by the Department of Health to develop this national training program and supporting resources for health professionals working with people affected by past forced adoption policies and practices. 

An Expert Reference Group (ERG) was established to provide expert clinical advice on the training, and to ensure that it is both accessible and useful to the professionals who complete it. The ERG represent the clinicians who are the target audience of this training, and comprises representatives from the following professional bodies:

  • Prof Daryl Higgins: Australian Psychological Society (APS), Australian Institute of Family Studies (AIFS)
  • Dr Cate Howell, Royal Australian College of General Practitioners (RACGP)
  • Professor Maurice Eisenbruch, Royal Australian and New Zealand College of Psychiatrists (RANZCP)
  • Jenny Conrick, Australian Association of Social Workers (AASW)
  • Robyn Low, Occupational Therapy Australia (OT Australia)
  • Peta Marks, Australian College of Mental Health Nurses (ACMHN)
  • Kelleigh Ryan, Australian Indigenous Psychologists Association (AIPA)

In addition to engagement with the ERG, over 80 consultations were held across Australia with organisations representing those affected by forced adoption, service delivery organisations and individuals affected by forced adoption. Where representatives were unable to meet in a capital city, arrangements were made for consultation via teleconferencing or by written response. 

Professor The Honourable Nahum Mushin, who was the Chair of the Forced Adoptions Implementation Working Group when it was operative, assisted the APS in these consultations, and was also a special adviser to the project.

Project updates

Updates that have been posted during the development of the training can be accessed here.


The APS would like to thank Professor Mushin, the ERG and participants in the stakeholder consultations for their commitment and generously sharing their experiences and expertise. The input provided by all has been invaluable in shaping the project.

The APS would also like to acknowledge the following organisations for the use of photos/footage throughout the course:

  • Parliament of Australia
  • Australian Broadcasting Corporation
  • National Archives of Australia
  • Connections UnitingCare
  • Stonnington Historical Society
  • State Library Victoria
  • State Parliament Western Australia
  • State Parliament Victoria

The Australian Institute of Family Studies (AIFS) have given permission for direct quotes from the AIFS National Research Study on the Service Response to Past Adoption Practices (Kenny et. al, 2012) to be featured throughout the course. The full study can be found at