Announcement of financial support for adoptive families by NSW Government a critical step forward
New South Wales Premier Gladys Berejiklian and Minister for Family and Community Services Pru Goward have today announced reforms that will provide financial assistance for parents adopting children*. The support measures ensure that adoptive parents now have access to means-tested financial assistance similar to that of foster carers, who currently receive fortnightly financial allowances.
A research report released by Adopt Change in November 2016 on pre and post-adoptive supports** highlighted that many adoptive children experienced not just single, but multiple trauma events leading up to their placement within an adoptive family. This often requires complex and potentially costly ongoing therapeutic supports to be provided to help these children deal with this trauma. A cost that will put financial pressure on many families wishing to adopt.
Renee Carter, CEO, Adopt Change, said the organisation welcomes the announcement a time when the number of children in out-of-home care continues to rise*** and the number of Australian children adopted is at its lowest level on record****.
“Adoptive families need a range of supports in place for them to access on an as needed basis,” Carter says. “Adoptees need to access these at different points throughout life.”
“We need to give adoptive families the best start and ongoing support available to ensure great outcomes for their children and the whole family. Financial support is one of the measures required. For a number of families, it may be the barrier preventing them from moving to permanency through adoption.
“Some families have several children in their care, such as sibling groups. The costs associated in moving from foster care to adoption can be prohibitive. With foster care there is a level of financial support and access to services, while these were primarily removed with adoption prior to todays’ announcement.”
Carter said that Adopt Change also welcomed the report that adoption reform is part of a plan to reduce the number of children in group foster homes. She called on all states and territories to follow the lead of NSW and ensure that they continue to pursue reform to create improved permanency outcomes for children in out-of-home care, including adoption.
“Last year there were only 196 Australian children adopted, five percent less than the previous year and the lowest number on record.
“There are now more than 30,000 children living separately from their birth families for two or more years who urgently need permanency, and adoption is one way of providing these children with a permanent, loving and stable home.”
For interviews please contact Samantha Dybac, SMWY Group
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Available for interview:
Renee Carter, CEO, Adopt Change.
* Daily Telegraph Wednesday 29 March 2017
** Post-Adoption Support for Adoptive Families in Australia: Is it Time for the ‘Triple-A’ Approach? Research report available upon request.
*** Australian Institute of Health and Welfare (AIHW) 2017 Child Protection Australia 2015-16, AIHW, Canberrahttp://www.aihw.gov.au/publication-detail/?id=60129558626
**** 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/
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 Furness in 2008. In 2017 NAAW will run from Sunday 12 – Saturday 18 November.
About Renee Carter, CEO Adopt Change
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.