Deborra-lee Furness and Adopt Change celebrate the tenth National Adoption Awareness Week as adoptions rise in Australia

Deborra-lee Furness and Adopt Change celebrate the tenth National Adoption Awareness Week as adoptions rise in Australia

On Tuesday 19 December, Adopt Change held a cocktail event at Kirribilli House in Sydney, to commemorate the tenth National Adoption Awareness Week, with guest of honour, founder and patron, Deborra-lee Furness.

National Adoption Awareness Week (NAAW), which was founded by Furness in 2008, is an annual event each November and is coordinated by Adopt Change to promote reform of Australian adoption laws and practices and to facilitate a community where a child’s right to permanency is prioritised. 

Coinciding with the tenth NAAW is the release of figures by the Australian Institute of Health & Welfare (AIHW) that show after last year, where adoptions in Australia were at their lowest on record, there has been an increase in 2016-17. In the past twelve months the figures have gone from 278 to 315 with a significant increase in the number of known child adoptions, the majority in NSW. 

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 Australian 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.”

During the event, Deborra-lee Furness was interviewed by Adopt Change Ambassador and Network Ten entertainment reporter Angela Bishop, and spoke about the important role Adopt Change has played in informing legislation and bringing about change, and why she is proud of what has been achieved.

Furness said, ‘Due to the energy and passion of our Board, staff, and volunteers alongside the adoption community, Adopt Change has been able to bring this issue out of a very dark cupboard and sustain raising awareness and is finally realising movement to ensure vulnerable Australian children aren’t getting stuck for long periods in the out of home care system and are finding the permanent, loving families that they deserve.

“Adopt Change will continue to drive awareness around this issue and demand our leaders provide a service that will best serve the needs of vulnerable children. A permanent family is the best solution to ensure children thrive.”

Senator Zed Seselja, the former assistant Minister for Social Services and Multicultural Affairs, who throughout his time in the portfolio championed the cause for children in care and the need for permanency in federal parliament, sent a video message of congratulations and thanks to Deborra-lee and Adopt Change for increasing awareness and providing advocacy for vulnerable children, making an important and tangible difference both for individuals and the future of the nation.

The Hon Pru Goward MP, New South Wales (NSW) Minister for Family and Community Services (FaCS) also spoke of the important reform happening in NSW and said that while she was pleased to see NSW leading the way with known child adoptions in Australia, there was still a lot more work done to ensure that more children find permanent and loving homes where reunification with their birth families was not possible.

Guests attending the event included Ambassador Hugh Jackman, the Hon Pru Goward NSW Minister for Family and Community Services, the Hon. Paul Green MLC, Gina Rinehart, Nicole Warne, the Hon Bronwyn Bishop, former NSW opposition leader and Board Director Kerry Chikarovski and Ambassadors former Australian cricketer Lisa Sthalekar, former AFL player Brad Murphy, Fox Sports presenter Louise Ransome, network ten entertainment reporter Angela Bishop and Sandra Sully.

Guests drank refreshments courtesy of Leeuwin Estate wines, Four Pillars gin and Cage Roads beer and cider and were entertained by award winning violinist Sally Cooper.

Adopt Change Media Contact: 
Samantha Dybac 
Phone: 0411 251 373

Available for interview: Renée Carter, Chief Executive Officer, Adopt Change

Adoptions Australia 2016-17 report available via the Australian Institute of Health Welfare (AIHW) website

Adopt Change on facebook, instagram and twitter @adoptchangeau 
Founder and Patron Adopt Change and National Adoption Awareness Week, Deborra-lee Furness
Board Directors: Catherine McDonnell (Chair), Kerry Chikarovski, John O’Neill, Victoria Buchan

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 ran from Sunday 12 – Saturday 18 November 2017.

About Renée Carter 
Renée 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).

Renée 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.

Renée is passionate about influencing policy and practice to deliver timely and effective outcomes for children, by garnering community, sector and government support.