The SNP Government is working to establish specialist support and counselling for those affected by historical adoption practices that took place across Scotland and the UK in the 1950s, ‘60s and ‘70s.
Peer support groups will also be set up and research will be commissioned to look at how existing assistance can be improved.
The new measures, backed by SNP Government funding of £145,000, were announced as a fresh appeal was made for women and families affected by historical adoption practices to share their experiences through a dedicated website and questionnaire.
Children’s Minister Clare Haughey MSP said:
“Tragically, in the past there were practices which resulted in some women feeling forced to give up their children. I offer my sincere sympathies to all those whose lives were profoundly changed as a result.
“Our webpage and questionnaire was set up six weeks ago so those affected by this heart-breaking issue could share their views and insights. Since then, mothers, fathers, sons and daughters have come forward to give moving accounts of their experiences. I do not underestimate how painful this may have been and the courage it must have taken. I’d like to thank all those who have contributed so far.
Kenneth Gibson MSP added:
“This shameful page in our history led to newborns being ripped from their parents’ arms without any meaningful consent, causing a lifetime of trauma both for young parents and the children who wondered why they were ‘given up.’
“Their feedback will help us to understand what action is needed to help these families now and in the future.
“In the meantime, the SNP Government is starting the process of establishing specialist support and peer support groups.
“If you have been affected by this, I hope you are able to participate in the questionnaire because you matter and you deserve the right support.”
Jeannot Farmer, of the Movement for an Adoption Apology, said:
“We are encouraged to hear that the Scottish Government has listened to our views and recognised the need for support services, including peer support, for those affected by historic adoption practices."
The Historical adoption webpage and questionnaire will be open for responses until 20 April.
A phone line has been set up in collaboration with Health in Mind to support people who are taking part, or who are considering taking part, in the questionnaire.
Those staffing the line have knowledge and understanding of trauma and its impacts. The free helpline can be reached on 0774 174 3971 on Wednesdays, Thursdays and Fridays from 10am – 3pm.
All responses to the webpage and questionnaire will be anonymised and treated in strict confidence.