Adoptions in Australia on the rise but more needs to be done to ensure permanency for children is a priority

Adoptions in Australia on the rise but more needs to be done to ensure permanency for children is a priority

The tenth National Adoption Awareness Week (NAAW) officially launches today in the Mural Hall, Parliament House, Canberra 9-1030am. The Australian Institute of Health and Welfare (AIHW) have released figures today on the number of adoptions in Australia for 2016-17.

Monday 13 November, Parliament House, Canberra – Adoptions in Australia for 2016-17 are at 315, up on the previous year of 278, according to figures released today by the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare (AIHW).

Reneé Carter CEO Adopt Change said, “Last year Australia had the lowest number of adoptions on record, so it is pleasing to learn of the increase in adoptions this year.

“There are almost 40,000 children who have been living separately from their birth families for two or more years, unlikely to return home. Instead, they typically face 12.5 years in the out of home care system, with some children moving ten or twenty times and others living in residential group homes.

“For some of these children, adoption is the best option that unfortunately faces too many barriers. The AIHW figures released today are an encouraging sign however there is still a lot more to be done to ensure more children have access to permanent, safe and loving homes.”

Carter said the release of the figures today is timely given the states and territories will meet in Sydney, this Friday 17 November 925am, as part of the two day Connections for Life – National Permanency Conference, for a panel discussion one year on from the Community Services Ministers’ commitment to prioritising permanency for children.

The conference, which is facilitated by Adopt Change, will bring together a variety of views and ideas from international speakers Sir Martin Narey, Sandrine Pepit and Dr Sylvia Rowlands,along with local speakers including actor, adoptee and Adopt Change Ambassador Jack ThompsonWarren Mundine AO, former WA police commissioner Karl O’Callaghan, former NBL player and Adopt Change Ambassador Eric Bailey, former AFL player and Adopt Change Ambassador Brad Murphy, adoptee, international film maker and Adopt Change Ambassador Joel de Carteret, Senator the Hon. Zed Seselja, Hon. Pru Goward MPAdjunct Professor Muriel Bamblett AM, and Dr Jeremy Sammut.

The conference will provide insights into permanency and adoption practices globally; the latest evidenced-based interventions to support families at risk of losing their children; as well as trauma informed practices and support information for adoptive families. Speakers will reflect on their own experiences in relation to a variety of topics including the state of child protection in Australia, working with foster families to achieve more permanent outcomes, the French and English systems of adoption, improving brain health by integrating trauma informed practices, and preserving culture for aboriginal children.

Ms Carter added, “We are at a critical juncture for child welfare in Australia. There are too many children living in limbo during their time in out of home care. The negative repercussions for children now and in later life include higher rates of homelessness, interactions with the justice system, and lower rates of education and health.

“This conference is an opportunity to ensure that important conversations about permanency for children are front and centre while exploring aspects of the permanency continuum, from reunification through to adoption and post-adoptive supports.”

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, safe and permanent family environment.

Further Conference details including a full list of speakers and topics is available

Throughout National Adoption Awareness Week, Adopt Change are running the #AHomeForEveryChild tshirt campaign. Tshirts are available for purchase via the Adopt Change website

Media accreditation for the Connections for Life – National Permanency Conference
Please Contact Samantha Dybac  P+61 411 251 373

Conference Dates: Thursday 16th and Friday 17th  November 2017
Location: Rydges Sydney Central 28 Albion Street Surry Hills.
Paid parking available on site. Close to Central train station and buses.

Media enquiries, campaign images and interviews
Please Contact Samantha Dybac  P+61 411 251 373

Available for interview
Renee Carter CEO Adopt Change
Conference speakers available upon request and subject to their personal timetables
Adopt Change on facebook, instagram and twitter @adoptchangeau
National Adoption Awareness Week 12 – 18 November 2017
Founder and Patron Deborra-lee Furness 

About Adopt Change and National Adoption Awareness Week (NAAW)
Adopt Change believes that every child has a right to grow up in a safe, permanent and loving family home. Adopt Change’s mission is to raise community awareness, encourage ethical reform, and empower all Australians to engage with issues affecting adoption and permanency.

Adopt Change is committed to working with community and governments to transform attitudes and laws affecting adoption and permanency 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 community where a child’s right to permanency is prioritised. NAAW was founded by Deborra-lee Furness in 2008. In 2017 NAAW will run from Sunday 12 – Saturday 18 November 2017.

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 executive and 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.