Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Day 1 Foster Care training!


information overload! Al and I got home sat on the couch and felt wasted!

Now in the area that I live in there a lot of of Australian Aboriginals so our training is based around their lives, needs and culture.

It was very eye opening and one of the major issues affecting aboriginals is what happened to them in the past.

This is a very touchy subject with so many people

What is called the "Stolen Generations"

The Stolen Generations is a term used to describe those children of Australian Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander descent who were removed from their families by the Australian and State government agencies and church missions, under various acts of their respective parliaments, denying the rights of parents and children by making Aboriginal children wards of the state, between approximately 1869 and (officially) 1969

100,000 Aboriginal children were taken forcibly or under duress from their families by police or welfare officers.

Most were under 5 years old. There was rarely any judicial process. To be Aboriginal was enough. They are known as the ‘Stolen Generations’.

what happened to them?
Most were raised in Church or state institutions. Some were fostered or adopted by white parents.
Many suffered physical and sexual abuse. Food and living conditions were poor.

why were they taken?
They were taken because it was Federal and State Government policy that Aboriginal children - especially those of mixed Aboriginal and European descent - should be removed from their parents.

Between 10 and 30% of all Aboriginal children were removed, and in some places these policies continued into the 1970s.

The main motive was to ‘assimilate’ Aboriginal children into European society over one or two generations by denying and destroying their Aboriginality.
Speaking their languages and practising their ceremonies was forbidden
They were taken miles from their country, some overseas
Parents were not told where their children were and could not trace them
Children were told that they were orphans
Family visits were discouraged or forbidden; letters were destroyed.

what were the results
The physical and emotional damage to those taken away was profound and lasting:
Most grew up in a hostile environment without family ties or cultural identity.
As adults, many suffered insecurity, lack of self esteem, feelings of worthlessness, depression, suicide, violence, delinquency, abuse of alcohol and drugs and inability to trust.
Lacking a parental model, many had difficulty bringing up their own children.
The scale of separation also had profound consequences for the whole Aboriginal community - anger, powerlessness and lack of purpose as well as an abiding distrust of Government, police and officials.

It found that forcible removal of indigenous children was a gross violation of human rights which continued well after Australia had undertaken international human rights commitments.

It was racially discriminatory, because it only applied to Aboriginal children on that scale, and
It was an act of genocide contrary to the Convention on Genocide, (which forbids ‘forcibly transferring children of [a] group to another group’ with the intention of destroying the group.)

This has been a huge in Australia as of late when Kevin Rudd Prime Minister - made the first item of Australia's new government an official apology to the Stolen Generations.

This has been alot to learn and take in! If you have made it down this far it gives you the idea of the day we had, changing feelings and preset ideas that I had!

It did leave me feeling very sad for these kids.... Some of whom never saw there family again!


Rebecca said...

Oh my gosh. This is beyond heartbreaking... I don't even have words for it.

Christine said...

How sad. That is alot to take in. Remember, this is what you have been waiting for for so long. Don't get discouraged.

MMrussianadoption said...

all i can say is wow

Janine said...

What a great post Chelley. As a fellow non-indigenous Aussie, and with Guardianship of a little boy of indigenous descent, it is a subject that makes me feel quite uncomfortable (I am very pleased that Rudd made the move on offering a formal apology - step in the right direction at least). You explained the subject well. Good luck with the rest of the training. Hard work but worth it...Janine