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Government inquiries and apologies have highlighted the role of non-government organisations in adoptions, and in the provision of welfare more generally in Australian history.

Faith-based organisations have also played a considerable role through a variety of outreach activities established by parent churches. In some areas, more general citizens’ committees formed, such as benevolent societies, ladies’ aid committees, and so on.

In the nineteenth century, churches were sometimes the only organisations that offered assistance to Australian families. Governments began to take a greater interest in social welfare from the mid- to late-1900s. Church organisations continued to offer a wide range of welfare services in addition to those provided by the states.