** MEDIA RELEASE**
ADOPTIONS IN AUSTRALIA LOWEST ON RECORD- Adopt Change says permanency and adoption is a critical priority for vulnerable, at risk children
Immediate Release: Sydney, Monday 19 December – Adoptions in Australia have plummeted to 278, the lowest on record, according to The Australian Institute of Health and Welfare (AIHW) report, Adoptions Australia 2015-16, released today.
This figure is 5% less than the previous year and is made up of 196 local adoptions and 82 intercountry.
“There are 30,000 children who have been living separately from their birth families for two or more years and urgently need permanency, and adoption is one way of providing these children with a permanent, loving and stable home” said, Renee Carter, Chief Executive Officer, Adopt Change.
“For some of these children, adoption is the best option that unfortunately faces too many barriers. The AIHW figures released today demonstrate that the current system is broken and we desperately need change in order to provide vulnerable, at risk children with a more permanent and supportive environment.”
Carter said the report states that the decrease in adoptions is due to a complex interplay of factors that have led to fewer children in need of adoption. She says in stating this the report fails to recognise the high and growing number of children who have been permanently removed from their biological families, due to abuse or neglect, and are now in foster care and in need of permanency.
“The suggestion that the number of parents wanting to adopt outweighs the number of children needing adoption seems at odds with the large number of children in out of home care. This certainly doesn’t recognise the drastic need for reform which is clearly needed.”
Last month, during National Adoption Awareness Week (NAAW), Adopt Change called on state and federal governments to put the rights of vulnerable, at risk children, first, with a simple message of, ‘Change the Process, Change the Facts.”
Chief Executive Officer of Adopt Change, Renee Carter, says the organisation will continue to advocate for change across four key areas:
1. A significant increase in the number of children in permanent, loving and stable homes across Australia
2. The removal of 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.
The AIHW report identifies that the number of adoptions by known carers has decreased to 70, with 68 of those adoptions taking place in New South Wales.
Monday 19 December 2016
Carter said, “We recognise the efforts occurring in NSW to address the need for permanency for children. While the AIHW report shows last year’s numbers were lower, we are encouraged by recent numbers showing that 53 adoptions*** have taken place in NSW in the first six months of 2016/17. We look forward to seeing the results in the coming months and years.”
She added that there is considerable community and political support growing that recognises the need to reform adoption legislation, policy and practice in Australia.
“We thank The Hon. Zed Seselja, Assistant Minister for Social Services and Multicultural Affairs, for his support and leadership on this important issue. The findings of the AIHW report report reinforce the urgent need to focus on reform in 2017. We encourage the states and territories to work together to make permanency and adoption a priority for vulnerable, at risk children, as per their recent agreement at the meeting of the Community Services Ministers in November.”
With the findings of the AIHW report, Carter said that Adopt Change would continue working with government, the sector 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.
Media Contact: Samantha Dybac email: firstname.lastname@example.org phone: 0411 251373
Available for interview: Renee Carter, Chief Executive Officer, Adopt Change. Adoptions Australia 2015-16 report available via the Australian Institute of Health Welfare
(AIHW) website http://www.aihw.gov.au/adoptions/
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. In 2016 it ran from Sunday 6 November to Saturday 12 November.
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.
For more information on Adopt Change
Website: www.adoptchange.org.au Instagram: https://instagram.com/adoptchangeau/ Twitter: https://twitter.com/adoptchangeau Hashtags: #adoptchange #adoption #NAAW2016 Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/AdoptChangeAU
* There were 196 Australian child adoptions in total in 2015-16, comprised of 45 local adoptions and 151 known child adoptions, including 24 children 18 yrs of age or over, and 70 by a known-carer. 68 of these known-carer adoptions were from NSW. (AIHW) Source: AIHW 2016 Adoptions Australia 2015-16, AIHW, Canberra. http://www.aihw.gov.au/adoptions/
** 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)
*** “More adoptions under plans to help vulnerable kids in care”, The Daily Telegraph, Saturday 17 December 2016. http://www.dailytelegraph.com.au/news/nsw/more- adoptions-under-plans-to-help-vulnerable-kids-in-care/news- story/f034051d5d8e72aca6617e5eec5265fc