Adopt Change says Adoptions Australia 2013-14 report findings are ‘disappointing’ but encouraged by the Australian government’s ongoing commitment to ethical adoption reform


Adopt Change says Adoptions Australia 2013-14 report findings are ‘disappointing’ but encouraged by the Australian government’s ongoing commitment to ethical adoption reform

Adopt Change, the advocacy group for ethical adoption reform founded by Deborra-lee Furness, has expressed its disappointment with the report released today by the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare (AIHW), Adoptions Australia 2013-14, which states that 317 adoptions were finalized in Australia in 2013-14, a fall of 9% from the previous year.

“Adopt Change believes every child has a right to a family, and we embrace ethical adoption as a positive and important way of forming a permanent family”, said Jane Hunt, CEO Adopt Change. “The latest combined figures on local and inter-country adoptions are at an all time low. Given the number of children who are in need of a permanent loving family, the findings are not good enough and we must continue to advocate for ethical adoption reform in Australia”, Hunt said.

Hunt said, on behalf of Adopt Change, that she welcomes the federal governments commitment to creating this change, with the Prime Minister Tony Abbott MP last month announcing the government had set a goal of 12 months as the time it will take for families wanting an ethical adoption process in Australia.
We welcome the Prime Minster’s commitment and hope that through continued legislative reform, we’re able to have a system here in Australia that safely and ethically allows more vulnerable children find their forever families”, she said.

“Research shows that the longer a child remains in institutional care, the more adverse affect it has on their brain development and social skills”, she said. The research she refers to is part of ongoing practical research studies by leading experts at the Institute of Child Development, Texas Christian University, who are experienced in facilitating behavioral change programs for adopted children who exhibit various levels of trauma.
Two of these experts, Dr Casey Call and Dr Amanda Howard, were in Australia last month as part of National Adoption Awareness Week, and at the time issued the following joint statement: “This is a world problem; we’re all learning together. We need policies and procedures that reflect current levels of brain research”. They also said, that, “In the U.S. the states that spent the most on children and their needs had the lowest per-capita prison populations”.

The AIHW report refers to a decline in the number of inter-country adoptions, which Hunt, attributes, in part, to the limited number of countries with which Australia currently has agreements in place.

The report also identifies that the number of local adoptions has increased slightly, driven by New South Wales, ‘where recent reforms have increased the focus on adoption by known carers’. Hunt said, “ We are encouraged by the reform taking place in New South Wales however we must recognize that all children who were the subject of a finalised local adoption in 2013-14 were aged under 5, with almost half being infants under 12 months. This would indicate that we have some way to go with children above the age of five in ensuring that they are also the recipients of a more permanent, loving family environment”.

Hunt says that following the findings of the report, the work of Adopt Change is now more important than ever. Adopt Change will continue working with government and the community to encourage ethical adoption reform to ensure that vulnerable children have the opportunity to flourish in a loving and permanent family environment.


For full details of the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare (AIHW) report, Adoptions Australia 2013-14, visit

For further information and interview requests, please contact: Samantha Dybac Sammway ph: 0411 251 373 e:

Available for Interview: Jane Hunt, CEO, Adopt Change
NB. Deborra-lee Furness is currently overseas and unavailable for comment.

Research studies and results by Dr Call and Dr Howard, Institute of Child Development, Texas Christian University, available upon request.

National Adoption Awareness Week was founded by Deborra-lee Furness in 2008. The 6th National Adoption Awareness Week too place in Australia, 9-15th November 2014.

For further information:

Adopt Change Board Members: Deborra-Lee Furness (Patron), John O’Neill (Chair), Helen McCabe, Victoria Buchan, Kerry Chikarovski, Catherine McDonnell.
CEO, Jane Hunt.