Latest Australian adoption and permanency figures show slight increase in the number of adoptions, and a slight decrease from last year for third-party parental responsibility orders

Latest Australian adoption and permanency figures show slight increase in the number of adoptions, and a slight decrease from last year for third-party parental responsibility orders

The Australian Institute of Health & Welfare (AIHW) today released their Adoptions Australia 2017-18 report, which shows a slight increase in the overall number of adoptions, with known carer adoptions making up almost three quarters of adoptions, and 84% of ‘known children’ adopted were over the age of 5.

Australia, Wednesday 12 December 2018, Adoptions in Australia for 2017-18 have risen slightly over the past twelve months, from 315 to 330, with close to 80% of these within New South Wales (NSW), according to the latest Australian Institute of Healthand Welfare (AIHW) Adoptions Australia 2017-18 report. Third-party parental orders have slightly decreased from 1,661 to 1,627 nationally, while NSW and WA had increased orders, with significant decreases in QLD, ACT and TAS.

Reneé Carter CEO Adopt Change said, “There are close to 50,000 Australian children living in out of home care in Australia, many for two years or more. This is enough children to fill most Australian sporting stadiums, including the Sydney Cricket Ground. Too many of these children face ongoing instability and insecurity about having somewhere to call ‘home’.

“The figures released today show that for children living in out of home care in the last twelve months, less than 1% have been adopted, and less than 4% have been provided with other forms of permanent care orders. As a nation, we have a long way to go before we can be claim that we are making timely decisions in the best interest of these children, ensuring that when remaining safely with family of origin is not possible, that the certainty of an alternative family home is being provided.”

The AIHW report identifies that the increase in adoptions is primarily due to the rise in the number of adoptions by known carers to 233, with 147 of these being foster carers, 142 of whom were from NSW. Of these children 53% were aged ten years or older.

“Australia-wide we need to ensure that from legislation through to the front line we remove any unnecessary barriers to stability, and with an ethical approach, provide children with the family upbringing they need for better life outcomes,” Ms Carter said.

Ms Carter emphasised the need to recognise the investment required to support families Australia wide. “We need to see evidence across Australia that there is significant commitment to investing in families so that they can stay together and thrive, and that when this is not possible, that children are given the opportunity to grow up in an alternative home environment with stability and certainty. These families also need significant supports, to ensure the children in their care can recover from trauma they have experienced and have the best opportunity and positive life outcomes.”


A copy of the full report is available here

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Available for interview:
Renée Carter CEO Adopt Change
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About Adopt Change and National Adoption Awareness Month  (NAAM)
Adopt Change believe that every child has the right to grow up in a safe, nurturing and permanent family home, and that all families need the appropriate supports for children to thrive.

Adopt Change works to raise community awareness of the importance of meeting these rights for children; encourage reform 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 birth family where possible. When that is not possible or safe, we advocate for other permanent options.

We recognise the impacts of impermanency and trauma and we work to support families through workshops and online resources; research; pre- and post-adoptive 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.

Adopt Change also operates the 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.

National Adoption Awareness Month (NAAM) in Australia is coordinated by Adopt Change to promote reform of adoption laws and practices to facilitate a community where a child’s right to permanency is prioritised. NAA 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.