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Church Apologises Over Forced Adoptions in South Australia – Senate Inquiry


Thursday, 8th December 2011 at 3:34 pm
Lina Caneva, Editor
The Uniting Church in South Australian and UnitingCare Wesley Adelaide have issued an unreserved apology to mothers who may have been forced to give up their children for adoption and to children who may have been forcibly removed from their mothers, through involvement with the Kate Cocks Memorial Babies Home.

Thursday, 8th December 2011
at 3:34 pm
Lina Caneva, Editor


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Church Apologises Over Forced Adoptions in South Australia – Senate Inquiry
Thursday, 8th December 2011 at 3:34 pm

The Uniting Church in South Australian and UnitingCare Wesley Adelaide have issued an unreserved apology to mothers who may have been forced to give up their children for adoption and to children who may have been forcibly removed from their mothers, through involvement with the Kate Cocks Memorial Babies Home.  

The apology is included in a recent submission made to the “Commonwealth Contribution to Former Forced Adoption Policies and Practices 2011 Inquiry” which is being conducted by the Senate Standing Committee on Community Affairs.

Chief Executive of UnitingCare Wesley Adelaide, Simon Schrapel, and the Moderator of the Uniting Church in South Australia, Rev Rob Williams, have made a joint public statement to say that: “If mothers involved in the Kate Cocks Memorial Babies Home were coerced or forced to give their children up for adoption we unreservedly apologise to those affected.  Furthermore, if children involved in the Kate Cocks Memorial Babies Home were forcibly removed from their parents we unreservedly apologise to those affected.”

The Kate Cocks Memorial Babies Home operated from 1937 – 1976. It was also known as:
Methodist Home for Babies and Girls
Methodist Babies Home at Brighton
Kate Cocks Memorial Babies Home
Kate Cocks Memorial Girls Home.

The home was run by the Home Missions Department of the Methodist Conference 1937 to 31st May 1944. It was then run by two separate associations established by the Methodist Church known as The Kate Cocks Memorial Girls Home Inc and Kate Cocks Memorial Family Services Inc (formerly Kate Cocks Memorial Babies Home Inc) until 1976. The Kate Cocks Memorial Babies home included theWyld Maternity Hospital which opened in 1952.

Simon Schrapel says In 1975 the two associations became part of the activities conducted by Adelaide Central Mission Inc. In 1976 the home ceased as an institution for children but continued as a day care centre. The Kate Cocks Home officially discontinued its involvement as an adoption agency in 1978.

The submission to the inquiry says that “unfortunately no admission records have survived from the Kate Cocks Memorial Children’s Home.Most records were destroyed by a fire.”

He said the original Founder of the home, Kate Cocks was one of South Australia’s first female police officers and she set up and managed the Home in her retirement.

He says the joint apology by the Uniting Church and UnitingCare Wesley has seen some 50 people come forward with information about their own adoption circumstances.

He says at least 30 of these people were associated in some way with the Kate Cocks Memorial Babies Home.

The Senate Inquiry has had almost 400 submissions from individuals and organisations involved in Australia’s early adoption system.

The Senate Community Affairs References Committee was expected to report on 21 November 2011, but has sought permission to report on 29 February 2012.

The inquiry was asked to investigate
a) The role, if any, of the Commonwealth Government, its policies and practices in
contributing to forced adoptions; and
b) The potential role of the Commonwealth in developing a national framework to
assist state and territories to address the consequences for the mothers, their
families and children who were subject to forced adoption policies.

Anyone wanting to contact Simon Schrapel can contact him via email on Simon.Schrapel@ucwesleyadelaide.org.au

Submission to the Commonwealth Inquiry are available at:
http://www.aph.gov.au/senate/committee/clac_ctte/comm_contrib_former_forced_adoption/submissions.htm


Lina Caneva  |  Editor |  @ProBonoNews

Lina Caneva has been a journalist for more than 35 years, and Editor of Pro Bono Australia News since it was founded in 2000.

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