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Father Hudson's Care involvement in Australian child migration scheme

FHC response to IICSA recommendations

The response of Father Hudson’s Care since the publication of the recommendations of the IICSA Child Migration Programmes Investigation Report

Father Hudson’s Care, as an agency which had been involved in the emigration of children to Australia, through its membership of the Catholic Child Welfare Council, co-operated fully with the Independent Inquiry Child Sexual Abuse (IICSA) into the child migration scheme. Though a government organised scheme, Father Hudson’s accepts responsibility for its role in sending some of the children in their care, to Australia, as part of these schemes.

Although apologies about involvement in child migration schemes had previously been made on behalf of the Catholic Church in England and Wales and re-iterated during a public hearing of IICSA, our Chief Executive Officer had also made a specific public apology to child migrants, during that public hearing. That apology was extended to all individuals and their families who, through their involvement in the child migration scheme to Australia, suffered or were traumatised in any way because of that.

Following the publication of the Inquiry’s recommendations, Father Hudson’s tried to contact those former child migrants for whom it had contact details, so an apology could be made personally to them. As some contact details were out of date, Father Hudson’s did not succeed in reaching as many former migrants as they would have wished to, but remain committed to extending that apology as the opportunity arises; the Origins Department of Father Hudson’s is contacted by and on occasion is visited by former child migrants. An apology was also published within the Annual Review of 2017-2018 and was made available on our website.

Father Hudson’s welcomed the Inquiry’s recommendation that records on child migrants be preserved and be available for easy access. We place great value on our historic child care records and provide a social worker trained specialist to ensure that access to records is provided promptly, efficiently and sensitively. As the age profile of these migrants has increased, Father Hudson’s prioritises these requests and they are usually completed within a few days. We continue to also welcome any of our former migrants who would like to visit us personally, as many have already and whom we have been very pleased to meet.

We are mindful that only a very small minority of the many thousands of children formerly in our care, were part of these child migration schemes. We retain a similar commitment to all those who were in our care and likewise we extend our apologies to all those children and their families, whose care fell short of what it should have been and indeed far short of the ideals of our founder, Father Hudson, who believed that children in care should receive a better standard of education, opportunities and care, because they were not living at home with the security and support of parents. We are truly sorry that these ideals were not always lived up to and some children experienced trauma and abuse. We would urge any allegations to be reported to the Police and we will report also, if allegations are disclosed to us.

We welcome the opportunity given by the IICSA investigation report, to shed light on what children have suffered, both from abuse and from the experience of child migration. We will continue to take steps to ensure that priority is given to keeping users of our services safe and that we learn from our past.

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