National Permanency Conference launches to address the thousands of at risk, vulnerable Australian children in need of a permanent, loving home

ational Permanency Conference launches to address the thousands of at risk, vulnerable Australian children in need of a permanent, loving home

In Australia, approximately 46,000 children are living in out-of-home-care, with over 30,000 living away from their birth families for two years or more. 

Immediate Release: Sydney, Australia, July 25, 2017
Today, the Connections for Life: National Permanency Conference, has been officially announced. The conference, which takes place during the tenth National Adoption Awareness Week (NAAW), is being facilitated by Adopt Change and will address the importance of permanency for children and their connections with family, culture, community and self. It comes in light of alarming figures that see around 46,000 Australian children living in out-of-home-care, including over 30,000 living away from their birth families for over two years, often moving multiple times, for an average of 12.5 years before turning eighteen.

Connections for Life – National Permanency Conference will be a two-day conference that brings together politicians, policy-makers, government departments, NGOs, practitioners, researchers and other members of the sector for constructive discussions to improve the situation. The conferece will take place one year since the Community Services Ministers from each state and territory committed to making permanency a national priority for Australia’s children. It will include a session with the state and territory ministers on developments in this area since their commitment to prioritising permanency, amongst other topics. 

Assistant Minister for Social Services, Senator the Hon Zed Seselja said, “Evidence shows overwhelmingly that a sense of security, stability, and continuity in childhood means a child will be better off as they enter adulthood if we provide them more stability early on.”

“This conference is an opportunity for policy-makers from all states and territories to come together and make adoption a national priority.

The Commonwealth is absolutely committed to leading these reforms to create improved permanency outcomes for children, including adoption. We are proud to partner with Adopt Change in this mission.”

The conference will include multiple sessions tailored to various groups and will touch on the most pressing topics attached to permanency for children. It will include international speakers providing insights into permanency and adoption practices globally, along with trauma informed best practices and supports for adoptive families. 

Adopt Change Chief Executive Renee Carter stated, “We are at a critical juncture for child welfare in Australia. There are too many children living in limbo, sometimes moving over 10 or 20 times from home to home, 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.

We need to ensure that the important conversations about permanency for children are front and centre to improve their situation. The conference will be an opportunity to explore aspects of the permanency continuum, from reunification through to adoption and post-adoptive supports.”

Along with Senator the Hon Zed Seselja, a number of local and international speakers and politicians have already been confirmed, including Sir Martin Narey, Dr Sylvia Rowlands, The Hon Pru Goward MP, Professor Selena Bartlett and Sheryl Batchelor.  

NSW Minister for Family and Community Services Pru Goward said permanency and a loving home for life must be prioritised where children cannot stay safely with their family. “When we started the adoption reform journey, we wanted to ensure that children and young people who could not live at home with their parents would have a safe, stable and loving home for life.” 

Connections for Life: National Permanency Conference will also include sessions tailored for the carer community exploring topics such as post adoptive supports and early childhood adversity.

Significant conference support has been provided through the major sponsors, New South Wales (NSW) Department of Family and Community Services (Platinum) and The Department of Socail Services (Silver), along with support from the Lord Mayor’s Charitable Foundation (Eldon and Anne Foote Trust) and continued support for Adopt Change activities from Newman’s Own Foundation, Pratt Foundation and the Packer Family Foundation. 

The conference will take place November 16-17 at Rydges Central Sydney, New South Wales. Sponsorship packages are still available and early bird tickets are now on sale via the website  with more information on the program available soon.

For further information and interviews please contact 

Samantha Dybac, SMWY Group 
P: 0411 251 373

Available for interview:

Renee Carter, CEO, Adopt Change. Contact: Samantha Dybac 0411 251 373
Senator the Hon Zed Seselja, Assistant Minister for Social Services. Contact: Veronica Hayes 0401 815 853


About Adopt Change and National Adoption Awareness Week (NAAW) 

Adopt Chand and National Adoption Awareness Week were founded by Deborra-lee Furness

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.

In 2017 NAAW will run from Sunday 12 – Saturday 18 November 2017. For further information please contact Samantha Dybac e:

About Renee Carter
Renee Carter is the CEO of Adopt Change and a member of the Advisory Group for the NSW 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.

*Australian Institute of Health and Welfare (AIHW) 2017 Child Protection Australia 2015-16, AIHW, Canberra

** 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 years 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 .