** MEDIA RELEASE**
Adopt Change welcomes Community Services Ministers commitment to permanency outcomes for children
Sydney, November 11th: Community Services Ministers met in Sydney today where it was agreed that the states and territories would pursue reform to create improved permanency outcomes for children.
In a statement following the meeting, Assistant Minister for Social Services and Multicultural Affairs, Senator Zed Seselja, said the Commonwealth would work collaboratively with the state and territory governments to drive improvements to permanency outcomes for children in out-of- home care, including adoption.
The Ministers endorsed the development of a set of guiding principles to enhance consistency in permanent care arrangements across jurisdictions. As part of the collaboration, improving timelines of permanent care decisions and supporting practitioners in making timely permanent decisions were made a priority.
There are 30,000 children in Australia in need of a permanent home*. In 2015, only 209 children were adopted**, and 292 total adoptions including intercountry. This is less than 1%. Almost half of these children experience between 2-10 foster homes before they turn eighteen***. Legislation varies by state but the average wait time for adopting is greater than five years.
Renee Carter, Chief Executive Officer, Adopt Change said, “Adopt Change welcome the constructive discussion which occurred today at the Community Services Ministers meeting.”
“There are 30,000 children who have been living separately from their birth families for two or more years and need permanency. The current system is broken and we need change in order to provide these children with a more permanent and supportive environment.”.
During National Adoption Awareness Week, 6-12 November, Adopt Change have been calling for change across four key areas:
1. An increase in the number of children in permanent, loving and stable homes across Australia
2. Removing barriers to permanency to allow timely, positive outcomes for children
3. Trauma informed support services to be provided for children and families
4. Prioritising a streamlined system for adoptions across Australia.
For further information, or to set up an interview, please contact Samantha Dybac, firstname.lastname@example.org p: 0411251373
AVAILABLE FOR INTERVIEW:
Renee Carter, Chief Executive Officer, Adopt Change
National Adoption Awareness Week (NAAW) was founded by Deborra-lee Furness in 2008 is the second week of November each year and this year runs from Sunday 6 November – Saturday 12 November 2016. For further information visit http://www.adoptchange.org.au
To view and download the 30 and 60 second Community Service Announcements go to https://vimeo.com/user58538596
Instagram: https://instagram.com/adoptchangeau/ Twitter: https://twitter.com/adoptchangeau
Hashtags: #adoptchange #adoption #NAAW2016
* At 30 June 2015 there were 29,359 children who had been in OOHC for over two years (AIHW 2016: 52). (Australian Institute of Health and Welfare 2016 Child Protection Australia 2014-15, AIHW, Canberra)
** There were 209 Australian child adoptions in total in 2014-15, comprised of 56 local adoptions and 153 Known child adoptions, including 94 by a known-carer. (AIHW)
292 children were adopted in 2014-15, including 82 children from overseas
Source: AIHW 2016 Adoptions Australia 2014-15, AIHW, Canberra: 13
*** 40% of children in out of home care had between 2 moves to over 10 moves in two years. This instability causes further trauma and negative outcomes for children who have already experienced trauma (AIHW 2016: 16). (AIHW 2016 Permanency planning in child protection A review of current concepts and available data 2016, AIHW, Canberra).
About Adopt Change and National Adoption Awareness Week (NAAW)
Adopt Change believes that every child has a right to grow up in a permanent, loving family, and embraces adoption as a positive and important way of forming that family.
Adopt Change’s mission is to raise community awareness, encourage ethical reform, and empower all Australians to engage with issues affecting adoption.
Adopt Change is committed to working with community and governments to transform attitudes and laws affecting adoption in Australia.
Adopt Change advocates for open adoption as the first permanent option considered for children who cannot live with their family or kin and will otherwise spend their childhood in Out of Home Care.
National Adoption Awareness Week (NAAW) is coordinated by Adopt Change to promote reform of Australian adoption laws and practices to facilitate a pro-adoption community. NAAW was founded by Deborra-lee Funess in 2008 and is the second week of November each year.
About Renee Carter
Renee Carter is the CEO of Adopt Change and member of the Institute Advisory Group for the Independent Research Centre Institute of Open Adoption Studies (The University of Sydney).
Renee has a strong background in communications and executive management, along with board level experience in the corporate and not-for-profit sectors and is a Member of the Australian Institute of Company Directors (MAICD). 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.
Renee is passionate about influencing policy and practice to deliver timely and effective outcomes for children, by garnering community, sector and government support.