Numerous preventable deaths and abuses of children in Queensland in recent weeks and years, involving a lack of intervention by authorities, have led to the Premier’s decision to now “routinely and genuinely consider” adoption where reunification is not possible.
Australia, 19 June 2020: Adopt Change welcomes Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk’s endorsement of the Queensland Coroners findings in the Mason Lee case to have adoption be “routinely and genuinely considered”.
The Premier also spoke about pursuing a bipartisan approach to tackling this issue and this has been supported by the Opposition Leader Deb Frecklington. Adopt Change fully supports this approach and believes that it will bring about swift and much needed change to the sector.
The organisation acknowledges the complexity of issues that children face when they come into care. Finding the right pathways can only be determined on a case-by-case basis.
A hierarchy of care options needs to be considered to adequately address the needs of children coming into out-of-home care. Open Adoption should form part of this hierarchy of care that can be used when reunification becomes no longer possible.
In recent years, Adopt Change has worked closely with both the NSW Government and the Federal Government on developing strategies for implementing an appropriate hierarchy of care. This structure includes Emergency Care, Foster Care, Guardianship, Kinship Care and Open Adoption.
The Queensland Premier has also spoken about the need to find more “good people” to foster children. Adopt Change operates the My Forever Family program in NSW and has introduced hundreds of new potential carers to NSW agencies over the last 2 years.
Of the 142 carer adoptions of Australian Children in 2018-19, 136 occurred in NSW.
The NSW Government is also reporting a 42 per cent reduction in the number of children entering out-of-home care over the past five years.
Renee Carter, CEO of Adopt Change, believes there are proven methods that could help Queensland government engage and support new and existing carers, explaining “Our experience in engaging and supporting new and existing carers and families could greatly contribute to ensuring there are enough safe homes for children when they are unable to reside with their families, either short term or long term. Engaging with potential short-term foster carers, permanent carers or adoptive parents, and supporting those already caring for kids, including providing them with training, is such an important part of ensuring children have a supportive community around them to help them heal and thrive.”
Ms Carter also spoke about the need for swift action to prevent further harm, “At present we have seen cases where children have been left in dire situations, we need to act and act quickly to prevent further loss or injury. It’s critical that we work as one to prevent any further suffering.”
“We have worked closely with the NSW Government on improving the lives of children and carers across the State and we are keen to work on ways to deliver key strategies to improve the approach to statutory care in Queensland.”
For all media enquiries and interviews with Adopt Change CEO Renée Carter, please contact:
0400 679 329
About Adopt Change Adopt Change is a not-for-profit organisation with a mission to support and educate families and communities in caring for displaced children (including those in foster care or orphaned) to achieve our vision of a world where all children grow, learn, play and thrive in a safe, nurturing and stable environment. We provide support resources, training, education and programs to work towards achieving this goal.
Adopt Change recognises the impacts of impermanency and trauma and we support families through workshops and online resources; research; pre- and post-permanency supports; trauma informed supports; information and community events; as well as working with governments, departments and the sector to address issues surrounding permanency for children.
We work to raise community awareness of the importance of meeting these rights for children; and empower Australians to work towards all children having positive life outcomes. We support capacity building of families to ensure that vulnerable children are able to remain within their family of origin where possible. When that is not possible or safe, we advocate for other timely and permanent options, including adoption.
Adopt Change operates the government-funded program My Forever Family NSW to recruit, train, support and advocate for foster carers, kinship carers, guardians and adoptive parents for children in out of home care in NSW.
National Adoption & Permanency Awareness Month is held during November and is coordinated by Adopt Change to promote improvement to permanency legislation, policy and practice to facilitate a community where a child’s right to stability is prioritised. National Adoption Awareness Week was founded by Deborra-lee Furness in 2008.
About Renée Carter
Renée Carter is the CEO of Australian not-for-profit Adopt Change, which also operates the program My Forever Family NSW. She is also a member of the Institute Advisory Group for the Independent Research Centre Institute of Open Adoption Studies (The University of Sydney).
Renée 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.
Renée is passionate about influencing policy and practice to deliver timely and effective outcomes for children, by garnering community, sector and government support.