In this profile, we share further information about the important work being carried out by The National Aged and Community Care Roundtable for Forgotten Australians – winner of the Community Engagement category in the 2022 Future of Ageing Awards.
There are an estimated 500,000 children who were placed in institutional and out-of-home care around Australia between 1940 and 1989. These individuals, known as Forgotten Australians or Care Leavers, have experienced neglect and abuse during their time in care and include the Stolen Generation and former child migrants from the UK, Ireland and Malta who moved to Australia post-WWII.
Many have suffered abuse and neglect while in facilities from the people who were supposed to care for and protect them. These institutions included churches, orphanages, children’s homes, group homes, youth detention centres and adult mental health facilities. As a result, many Forgotten Australians continue to face an array of complex issues which include mental and physical illnesses, homelessness, substance abuse, relationship issues, and poor literacy.
Updated June 5, 2023: In this documentary film by Adele Chynoweth (Tutwork Productions), multi-award-winning Australian music producer, Mark Opitz, links his childhood experience in a boys’ Home with the determination and distinctive sounds that characterise his stellar career. ‘Eighty Twenty: Mark Opitz Remembers’ will premiere on Monday 12 June at 8:30 pm AEST on Fox Docos On Demand by FOXTEL. The film will also be available to stream on Binge from Tuesday 13 June onwards. View the trailer below:
Due to the abuse and suffering that many Forgotten Australians were subjected to while in institutional ‘care’, they often have trauma relating to the possible access and entry to aged and community care . These include trust issues regarding those hired to provide care for them. The need for aged care may sometimes bring back feelings of not being in control as well as feelings of neglect and abandonment which may cause these individuals to feel like they are reliving the trauma from their childhoods. While there have been sizeable improvements to the treatment and awareness of Forgotten Australians and individuals who experienced institutional ‘care’ as children, there are still significant changes that need to be made including reform, redress, and acknowledgement of the wrongdoings of the past. Information to help care providers to better respond to the needs of this group can be found here.
The National Aged and Community Care Roundtable for Forgotten Australians was established to continue the collaboration from the National Forum held by Relationships Australia, in Sydney on 6 June 2019. The group aims to spotlight the needs of Forgotten Australians/ Care Leavers themselves as they age, or are ageing prematurely, as a result of the neglect and abuse they received in care as children.
The National Roundtable is directly aimed at improving the access, quality and appropriateness of services and support. Along with a range of individuals and organizations with expertise in the aged and community care sector, this group advocates for changes in service models, policy reform, and better-trained staff to support Forgotten Australians as they age.
The National Roundtable is dedicated to directly supporting the interests of Forgotten Australians and other Care Leavers through collaboration and sharing of networks, resources, knowledge, and sharing stories and case studies.
Together, with an expanding list of members and partners, the National Roundtable aims to bring awareness to the unique situations of Forgotten Australians and other Care Leavers in aged and community care and strives to create a better Australia for Forgotten Australians through creating, social, educational, and aged care service reform.
The National Roundtable meetings are held bi-monthly, and there are a number of sub-committees that work on specific areas such as policy reform and training for staff. The group also works on updating resources and providing information that is correct, accessible, and valuable in a timely manner. It is an essential requirement that aged and community care providers, given the number of Forgotten Australians fully understand the issues for this group, have properly trained and trauma-informed workforce approaches, and significantly respond to the individual needs of Forgotten Australians.
The National Aged and Community Care Roundtable for Forgotten Australians is a vital organisation in addressing the unique needs of Forgotten Australians as they age and in improving the current systems in place for their care. Through collaboration, advocacy, and resource sharing, the National Roundtable is dedicated to creating a better future for these individuals who have suffered neglect and abuse in their past.
Resources and additional information
Real Care the Second Time Around – information for caregivers on how to best respond to situations and questions from Forgotten Australians/Care Leavers
Entries for the 2023 Future of Ageing Awards open May 1, 2023 – For further information.
Thanks to those companies who have shown their support for the awards through a partnership. They are listed below: