Adopt Change brings together key voices to tackle the urgent need for home-based care for kids across Australia.

National not-for-profit organisation Adopt Change is bringing together key child welfare leaders, government stakeholders and those with lived experience to find ‘A Home and Healing for Every Child’ currently in the out-of-home care system. 

With 4,500 of the children in the government care system – some of them infants – living in motels and residential group settings, Adopt Change is bringing together government, leaders in child and family welfare, Children’s Commissioners, global thought leaders and those with lived experience as part of the Adopt Change #THRIVE2023 A Home and Healing for Every Child conference to tackle solutions for this critical issue head on. Supported by governments across the country, #THRIVE2023 focuses on addressing the plight of Australia’s most vulnerable youth – the over 45,000 children and young people currently living in state care, with particular focus on the ten percent (4,500) not currently in a family home.  

The Sydney Cricket Ground will feature as a backdrop to the event, with the number of seats in the iconic stadium a visual representation of the number of children in care around the country. Too many of these young people are on a trajectory to homelessness, interactions with juvenile justice, and not completing their education, often bouncing from one home to another throughout their childhood.  

Adopt Change Founder and global humanitarian Deborra-lee Furness says,  

All children are precious and need a safe, loving, permanent home environment to thrive. We have been shining a light on this issue for over a decade, and while we are making progress in some areas, the numbers and circumstances that we are seeing today are still deeply alarming. Infants living in “pop-up orphanages” and motels with shift workers who are not trained in trauma-informed care is unacceptable. 

I’m thrilled that governments, community, and the sector are coming to the table at the THRIVE conference to find solutions for this untenable situation. This issue needs to be a high priority on the agenda of our chosen leaders. Energy, enthusiasm, education and creativity is what we need to find a solution. The true measure of any society can be found in how it treats its most vulnerable citizens. 

With carers in short supply and under crushing economic pressures, the number of children entering care and not being raised in a home is rising. The commitment to providing therapeutic care and permanency for healing needs urgent attention.  

Renée Carter, CEO of Adopt Change, explains, Children enter the care system, typically on the basis of an unsafe family environment. The intention is that they are then placed in home-based care either short term or long term to be raised by a family and provided with safety, stability and healing. Too often this is not being delivered for these children and their trauma is compounded. This has to stop and Australia needs to do better by its children. We will continue to push for a commitment to A Home and Healing for Every Child so that we see better childhoods and futures for our nation’s kids. 

Joining Ms Carter on the panel discussing the prevalence of placing children in residential group homes is Tom Allsop, CEO of Peakcare in Queensland. Mr Allsop highlights the dire situation for children in that state in residential group settings, Queensland has more than 1,750 children in residential care with almost 1 in 3 are under the age of 12. We need urgent action to reduce the number of infants and children in residential care by investing in family-based and alternative therapeutic models of care that we know can deliver better and more permanent outcomes for most children. 

One of the key topics also being addressed at #THRIVE2023 is the over-representation of Aboriginal children and young people in the care system. Brenda Matthews, author of The Last Daughter – now a Netflix documentary, and SNAICC Board Member Candice Butler will be providing keynote addresses on this issue. Delegates will also hear from First Nations organisations Children’s Ground about empowering children and families as a key to systemic reform, as well as Curijio on the lethality of loneliness and healing through connection. 

Following the conference, Adopt Change will collate the collective voice of participants and present the National Recommendations Paper to government outlining clear recommendations to keep Australia’s most vulnerable children safe. 

#THRIVE2023 A Home and Healing for Every Child, will take place at the Sydney Cricket Ground on Monday 13 and Tuesday 14 November 2023. To find out more visit the website  

Media is invited to pre-book attendance for select sessions of the conference. 


Available for interview:  
Adopt Change CEO Renée Carter  

For all media enquiries, interviews, and to book attendance, please contact:   
Priya Prakash  
(02) 9189 2020  

About Adopt Change  

Adopt Change is a not-for-profit organisation with a mission to support and educate families and communities in caring for displaced children (including those in foster care or orphaned) to achieve our vision of a home for every child where all children grow, learn, play and thrive in a safe, nurturing and stable environment. We provide support resources, training, education and programs to work towards achieving this goal.   
Adopt Change also operates the government-funded program My Forever Family NSW to recruit, train, support and advocate for foster carers, kinship carers, guardians and adoptive parents for children in out of home care in NSW.   
A major campaign is launched by Adopt Change during November to promote improvement to permanency legislation, policy and practice to facilitate a community where a child’s right to stability is prioritised. The organisation was founded by Deborra-lee Furness in 2008.   


About Renée Carter  

Renée Carter is the CEO of Adopt Change and a passionate advocate for the wellbeing of children and young people. She leads a team of Adopt Change Changemakers nationally, with major activities including the #THRIVE National Permanency Conference; My Forever Family NSW; Yesvember A Home for Every Child campaign; MyPacks first night back packs; Empower Change; along with engagement with community, government, media and the sector.    

Renée is a member of Australian Institute of Company Directors, with a background in communications and executive management, along with board level experience in corporate and not-for-profit sectors. Her experience includes three years as Chair of charity Child Abuse Prevention Service (CAPS), an organisation focused on early intervention, education and support of families and communities; and Managing Director of creative corporate and investor communications specialists Designate Group.   

Renée is committed to influencing child welfare policy and practice to deliver timely and effective outcomes for children so they can have better childhood experiences and a brighter future.