Adopt Change welcomes NSW Government legislative reform to ensure more children find permanent homes in a timely manner and with children at the center of decision making
Ahead of National Adoption Awareness Month (NAM) in November, Adopt Change has expressed its support for a new landmark child protection Bill being introduced into parliament this week, to ensure children have more timely access to permanency, with short term orders of two years putting a timeframe on decision making. More efforts will be put into enabling families to stay together through evidence based programs, and where children are unable to stay at home (or return home) safely, court processes for guardianship and open adoption will be alternatives considered within the timeframe.
Immediate Release, Sydney, Australia, Wednesday 24 October 2018 – Adopt Change has announced its support of a new child protection Bill being introduced into the NSW Parliament this week that will see children spending less time in the out of home care system, and a significant increase in children having access to permanency through a number of options. Where possible this will mean returning home to their family of origin, or where this cannot be achieved safely, then through guardianship or open adoption. Rather than court orders seeing a child in the care of the Minister until age 18, short term 2 year orders will promote more timely decision making, with children at the center of decision making.
CEO Adopt Change Renée Carter said that the new reforms put the rights of children first and will prioritise timely decision making for the 18,000 children currently living in out of home care in New South Wales.
“There are far too many children living in the out of home care system who don’t know where they will sleep tonight. These children experience years of instability, bouncing from home to home, spending time in institutional care, not having a secure family home they can call their own. Some children experience up to 70 placements before they turn eighteen which frankly is just not good enough,” Ms Carter said.
“These children enter the child protection system for safety reasons after being removed due to abuse or neglect. Intensive measures must always be in place, to support the safe reunification of families where possible. When this can’t happen, children deserve certainty about the family that will be there for them. If we don’t as governments, the sector and community, make timely decisions in the best interest of these children, this legalised instability will continue. “
The announcement comes ahead of the launch of National Adoption Awareness Month on 1 November with Adopt Change calling on all Australians to get behind “Yesvember” to say ‘Yes” to #AHomeForEveryChild.
Permanency as a priority for children is a reform Adopt Change has continued to call for and has invited the states and territories to a national discussion about this urgent child protection issue at the National Permanency Conference being held in Brisbane on 8 & 9 November 2018. The conference, now in its second year, will bring together key representatives from all states, territories and federal government, along with local and international speakers, addressing the importance of permanency and the impacts of impermanence for children. The conference will also consider ways to better support children who have experienced adversity and trauma, working towards providing better outcomes for them during their childhood through to adulthood.