Adopt Change believe that every child has the right to grow up in a safe, nurturing and permanent family home, and that all families need the appropriate supports for children to thrive.
Adopt Change works to raise community awareness of the importance of meeting these rights for children; encourage reform and empower Australians to work towards all children having permanency and positive life outcomes. We support capacity building of families to ensure that vulnerable children are able to remain within their birth family where possible. When that is not possible or safe, we advocate for other permanent options, including adoption where appropriate.
We understand the impacts of impermanency and trauma and we work to support families through workshops and online resources; research; pre- and post-adoptive supports; trauma informed supports; information and community events; as well as working with governments, departments and the sector to address issues surrounding permanency for children.
You can read more about what we do here
Adopt Change is a not-for-profit organisation and is registered as a Charity with the Australian Charity and Not-for-profits Commission (ACNC).
Adopt Change exists to ensure all children have access to a safe, nurturing and permanent family home and that families are well supported.
To raise community awareness, encourage reform and empower all Australians to ensure all children have a permanent loving family.
In 2008, Adopt Change was founded by Deborra-lee Furness with a small group of volunteers, in response to the needs of children who had been orphaned or were living in temporary care, along with the challenges and distress experienced by children and families navigating the complex adoption processes in Australia. Children who had already experienced difficult starts in life, and often trauma, were faced with further challenges in not being able to access stability or the appropriate support services. The focus of the organisation in the early years was on National Adoption Awareness Week, advocacy and providing support.
The first National Adoption Awareness Week (NAAW) was facilitated by Adopt Change and has been running each year since in November (the 10th was held in 2017). National Adoption Awareness Week has been recognised as a key event in the year, and highlights over the years have included involvement of guest speakers such as Dr Karyn Purvis, Dr Jane Aronson, Sir Martin Narey and Dr Sylvia Rowlands; events including a panel at the National Press Club; launches at Parliament House Canberra; along with the National Permanency Conference. Through NAAW, we have influenced positive steps forward including the Commonwealth Government of Australia's commitment to adoption reform in December 2013 – for more ethical and supportive adoption processes in Australia; and in November 2016, the commitment of the Social Services Ministers to prioritising permanency for children in out of home care.
In 2014, the Adopt Change organisation evolved to expand to year-round campaigning. National Adoption Awareness Week continues as a major annual awareness-raising event. In 2018, Adoption Awareness progressed from one week to the month of November.
In 2017, Adopt Changed launched our first National Permanency Conference – Connections for Life – in Sydney, to hear reports on permanency progress and plans from each State, along with international and local speakers on a range of topics related to permanency, impermanency, adoption and trauma. The 2018 conference will be run in Queensland, where implementation of permanent care orders is at a juncture for children from out of home care.
In 2018 Adopt Change were commissioned by NSW Government Family and Community Services to operate the new program – My Forever Family NSW. The program was established to recruit, support, train and advocate for foster carers, kinship carers, guardians and adoptive parents for children from out of home care. The program outcomes are set to deliver better experiences for vulnerable children in NSW, who have typically experienced trauma through abuse and/or neglect in their childhood. The program will work closely with the sector and communities to supplement trauma informed training and provide more potential carers. Adopt Change is leading the consortium and working with partners Prosper (Project Australia) and Professor Paul Chandler of Early Start, University of Wollongong.
Also in 2018, Adopt Change launched our 'Safe Spaces, Safe Faces, Safe Places’ trauma training series for teachers and principals, to work towards more trauma informed education for children who have experienced early childhood adversity and typically find school a challenging environment.
Today, under the leadership of CEO, Renee Carter, Adopt Change works with Australian state and federal governments, the child welfare sector and the community in order to achieve the common goal of ensuring that every child has the opportunity to grow up in a safe, nurturing and stable family environment.
Adopt Change continues to grow and expand our scope to work towards our goal of all children having access to a safe, nurturing and stable family home to grow up in. We also understand that children many children who cannot live with their birth family (for a variety of reasons), have typically experienced trauma. For this reason, Adopt Change provides support to families (foster or adoptive) who care for these children, so that they can provide the best care possible to assist their children with healing.