Dialog Box

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The Issue

Why we do it 

30,000 children in Australia are in need of a permanent home

These children who have been in out of home care for two or more years in Australia, and are not in relative or kinship placements.

Reunification with birth families is not always possible

Most of these 30,000 children have been removed from abusive or neglectful situations, and having been in foster or residential care arrangements for two or more years, reunification with birth family is unlikely.

Permanency is critical to a child’s development and future prospects

This is particularly the case for children who have experienced trauma, as all children in care indeed have.

Children who have had an experience with impermanent care are three times more likely to suffer from drug and alcohol addiction, four times more at risk to diabetes and five times more at risk to heart disease. They have increased chances of experiencing homelessness, mental health problems and difficulty finding stable employment.

Adoption is a pathway to permancy for vulnerable children

Permanency and meaningful adult attachment are necessary for a child to experience a normal developmental trajectory.

If reunification or placement with kin is not possible, adoption is a valid pathway to permanency for a vulnerable child.

A US research project of 701 adoptees in the US found that better relationships between adoptive parents and adoptees correlated with less chance of truancy, substance abuse, school suspension or contact with the police.

In 2015 only 150 of the 30,000 Australian children in need of a permanent home were adopted

While the number of kids not able to live with their birth family grows by 9% each year, the number of adoptions decreases by 4%.

Barriers to adoption in Australia

Australian child protection policy and practise fails to provide permanent solutions for the majority of children in need of a home.

Adoption in Australia is a lengthy and overly-involved process. Adopting a child takes years from the time a family decides to adopt, to the time when an adoption is finalized.

Often potential adoptive parents are already the long-term carers of the children that they wish to adopt. Complicated court processes for children who are in foster care are an additional barrier to adoption for foster carers.

With the practise of adoption decreasing consistently in Australia for the last 30 years, there is also a decline in skilled practitioners in this area.

This is exacerbated by the negative perceptions of adoption which stem from past practises of forced adoption and rights of birth parents. Modern, open adoption practises receive little attention in tertiary curricula for social workers.

Adopt Change advocates for every child to have the opportunity to grow up in a permanent, loving family, and adoption must be a legitimate option when considering permanency for vulnerable children.

See the Adopt Change Position Paper on Domestic Adoption for more information.

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See the Adopt Change Position Paper on Intercountry Adoption for more information.

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