Adoption to become easier, government vows

Thursday, November 22, 2012
Adoption to become easier, government vows

The NSW government has vowed to make adoption easier, for both parents who desperately want children, and children who desperately need safe, stable families.

There were just 65 children adopted locally in 2011-12, a rise from 45 the year before.

By contrast, there are more than 35,000 children living in "out-of-home" or foster care.

Most have been removed from their parents, after being deemed to be at serious risk of harm, either because of abuse or neglect.

Many will never live with their parents again, but instead of being adopted, they are forced to bounce from one foster home to the next, unrelated to the person caring for them, who might be doing it only for the money.

The NSW minister for Community Services, Pru Goward, told the Alan Jones radio program in Sydney this morning that she has met children who have no baby photographs, because they have been moved so many times.

Some children live in six, seven or even eight homes, before finally being placed in a "group house" when they turn 15 or 16.

Ms Goward, who is passionate about child welfare, wants to offer them more stability, by making adoption easier.

The former Labor government in NSW was widely believed to be anti-adoption.

There are concerns about re-creating a "stolen generation" of children, taken from their parents to be raised in "better' homes.

There are also concerns about children being adopted out too quickly. Some parents do recover from drug addiction and mental illness, and are able to care for their children again; and it's widely agreed that children benefit from having an ongoing relationship with their biological parents, even if they can't live with them.

A discussion paper on the issue has been released today. You can also comment on the plan to make adoption easier here, or read Pru Goward's media release here.

The Australian government's decision to stop all adoptions from Ethiopia was covered by the Weekly in its November edition. You can read that story — Adoption Interrupted here—.

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