“Care Leavers Australia Network (CLAN), the national support and advocacy group for people who grew up in Australia’s orphanages and Children’s Homes is pleased to announce the confirmation of a formal apology to people who suffered at the hands of the nation’s 500 plus Orphanages, Children’s Homes & Foster Care.

The apology is to be given by Prime Minister Kevin Rudd on the 16th of November 2009 in Canberra.

CLAN President Leonie Sheedy stated that:
“care leavers are overjoyed with the announcement of the date of the apology and care leavers have been waiting a lifetime for this apology. It will truly help in healing our people.”

CLAN was instrumental along with former Senator Andrew Murray in bringing to the nation’s attention the neglect, abuse, trauma and suffering of people raised in the 500 plus orphanages, Children’s Homes and foster care. After tireless lobbying alongside former Senator Andrew Murray a Senate Inquiry was initiated into Children in Institutional Care in 2005. CLAN has remained a leading organisation run by care leavers for care leavers in raising awareness of care leaver issues.
Leonie continued that: “the date of the apology will be a historic day for the many thousands of Australians who were abused, assaulted and neglected while in the care of the state. Finally, we will be acknowledged in our own country by our Prime Minister. Finally we have a Government which is prepared to show moral leadership on behalf of the nation, in issuing a formal statement of acknowledgement and apology to long-suffering people.”

It is vital that the Premiers of each State and representatives of each Church and Charity that ran the 500 plus Orphanages and Homes be present on the 16th November.
Leonie stated: “it is important that they acknowledge the damage done to children in their care and in their orphanages and Homes.”

You can find out more about the Australian apology by visiting the CLAN website.
Here is one australian care leaver’s view of the apology:
“On the 16th of November Prime Minister Kevin Rudd will make an apology to the “Forgotten Australians”. I welcome this apology as my time in care has haunted me my whole life. For me this apology is life changing, it validates the abuses of childrens rights that occurred and gives me back my self worth. I was a young girl subjected to harsh punishment, criticism and lack of nurturing that affected my development and sent me spiralling into despair for many years.
It created family disengagement, lack of education and left me with low self esteem, and the inability to feel any belonging. It created in me an outcast a loner hiding in shame who did not fit in with others. An apology cannot fix the damage already done but it creates in me a feeling of relief because it removes the feeling of guilt and shame I have lived with.

During my stay I spent time in dormitory’s 2,4,3,5,6 I saw a lot of injustice, we as children needed protection and were not given that protection but were often abused and degraded by the officers.

I welcome the government’s apology.
Junita Lyon
Parragirl. X115
Also, there is a wonderful radio programme on the subject. You can access the podcast of the programme here:
Don’t forget that the apology takes place on 16th of November.