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Coerced adoption: Salvation Army launches review of maternity homes that housed unwed mothers

The Salvation Army says it is conducting an internal review into its historic maternity homes, just as a retired Calgary judge — who was once a high-ranking child welfare worker in the city — has come forward and corroborated some of the claims mothers have recently made about coercive adoption practices directed at unmarried mothers decades ago.

‘These people thought they were doing good – they thought these girls were sluts. They thought they were rescuing these children from a life of poverty,” said Herbert Allard, a former social worker, who said he was prompted to speak out upon reading the National Post’s story on forced adoptions over the weekend.

“At the time, I was divorced from the reality … It upset me in a way, but it’s just what went on.”
His account appears to confirm the coercion was systematic: He said the Salvation Army accepted teen mothers into their maternity homes on the condition they would surrender their baby, city social workers purposefully withheld information about revoking the adoption or the option of temporary wardship, and that unmarried mothers were punished in a Salvation Army hospital for getting pregnant out of wedlock.

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