I was recently taken aback by a conversation with someone working in the child welfare sector. We were conversing about adoption and permanent care orders with differing views.
During the conversation I referred to the disturbing number of children in out of home care in Australia (46,000), thinking we would find common ground there. But this person attempted to assure me that this is "not really that bad considering how many children there are in Australia”.
I was shocked and disturbed that the pain and struggle of 46,000 children could be discounted in this way.
46,000 children who have been removed from birth family due to abuse and neglect. Many of whom will be unable to be restored to their birth parents. Many who will bounce from home to home over their 12.5 years in the care system. (And this number excludes the thousands of children with substantiated cases of abuse who have not yet been moved from their home).
For those fortunate enough, they will find loving and stable homes with kin or foster parents. But this is not the case for many.
For others they will spend months in a hotel with a case worker. Or live in a residential group home with shift workers, living without a parent figure.
46,000 individual, precious children who deserve a permanent, loving home.
More recently, I had a conversation with a young person who had experienced out of home care and multiple placements. When she found out how many children there are in out of home care, she told me “that’s 46,000 too many.” When I told her how many children were adopted in Australia last year, she then told me “it should have been at least 10,000.”
CEO, Adopt Change