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Diana O’Neil

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Day Presenting:  Tuesday 30 October
Time: 11:30am-12:00pm
Session Concurrent C3- Quality and Best Practice
Presentation Title Listening and responding to forgotten Australian-Understanding the second time around
Position Title Project Officer
Company Forgotten Australians, Helping Hands Aged Care

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Forgotten Australians are the largest group under the Care Leavers special needs category in the Aged Care Act. Care Leavers inlcude those 500,000 plus children who, until 1989, were placed in children’s homes, foster homes and orphanages across Australia during a time of limited social welfare support for families and sole parents, and during period when national and international human and children’s rights frameworks were poorly developed.
Whilst there is some community awareness of the terms ‘Stolen Generations” and ‘Child Migrants’ , recognition of the term Forgotten Australians is lagging despite them constituting 450,000 plus of the 500,000 in the Care Leaver category.
Sadly, many of these children were left traumatized because of the “care “that they received in various institutions and have suffered life-long consequences from their abuse and neglect. This special group are now an ageing population and many of are struggling to face the possibility of a second time around in institutional care. The prospect of re-institutionalisation leaves then highly vulnerable to re-traumatisation.
The Commonwealth Government released an Information package on Caring for Forgotten Australians, Former Child Migrants and Stolen Generations for aged care services in 2017 however there is no strategy in currently in place as to how to implement the necessary quality care practices nor to ensure the utilization of the information package in the education of aged care providers and professionals.
In the first project of its kind nationally, Helping Hand has joined with Relationships Australia South Australia to work with Forgotten Australians to assist the aged care sector to better understand and respond to their aged care needs.
This presentation will provide insight into the needs and challenges in understanding and caring for Forgotten Australians. It will also report on the results of the project currently being implemented and the steps taken to engage with Forgotten Australians in the codesign of the project and its’ recommendations.


Diana has come to Helping Hand to undertake the role of Project Officer for the Listening and Responding to Forgotten Australians Project because of her knowledge of working with this disadvantaged group. The project responsibilities include identifying, consulting and codesigning with Forgotten Australians a range of measures to increase awareness of the aged care needs of this group and to explore ways of recognizing and responding to their needs.
She has had a long-standing interest in, and experience of developing and supporting consumers across the health and human services sectors with goal of ensuring their voices are heard on policy, research and practice related to their needs.
Included in these roles has been a consistent focus on advocacy, consumer education and consumer-led community education. Diana has formal qualifications in Social Work and has been involved in the tertiary education of social workers in the areas of consumer and community engagement.