STILL FIGHTING: Imbil's Kerri Saint says forced adoption victims are still the forgotten people.
STILL FIGHTING: Imbil's Kerri Saint says forced adoption victims are still the forgotten people. Renee Albrecht

Federal inquiry blasted by our 'other stolen generation'

IMBIL adoptee advocate Kerri Saint says a federal inquiry into adoption runs the risk of becoming a front for child stealing.

Ms Saint, who was taken from her poverty stricken mother at an early age, says her experience of slavery and abuse is not unique.

And although many adoptive parents do a good job, the state did not do its job in her case and many others.

"It didn't fulfil its duty of care to ensure that children forcibly taken from biological parents were going to a home that was better than where they came from," she said.

Ms Saint says that although the experiences of adoptees have finally led to formal apologies from the Queensland and federal governments, there has been no talk of compensation, as has occurred with people forcibly institutionalised in government or church run institutions.

"But there is no difference," she said yesterday, adding that there remains a risk that the mistakes of the past could be repeated.

"Children adopted or fostered out were not always abused but some were and the government did not exercise its duty of care in assessing the homes they were going to," she said.

The inquiry is chaired by federal MP for Chisolm, Julia Banks, who said the inquiry was about helping children in the future.

Ms Saint said adoption should be about "finding homes for children who need them, not finding children for people to adopt."

Ms Banks said the inquiry, being conducted by the House of Representatives Standing Committee on Social Policy and Legal Affairs, acknowledged "the profound effects of past forced adoption and removal policies and practices."

Despite the wishes of some to share their stories, Ms Banks said the inquiry's focus was not on the past. "The terms of reference require the committee to consider how stability and permanency can be provided for children who in need of out-of-home care," she said.