Dialog Box




Adopt Change facilitates conferences and workshops to provide a forum to hear and discuss topics pertinent to child welfare, including permanency and impermanency; trauma informed parenting and care; and the impact of early childhood adversity.

Connections for Life – National Permanency Conference

On 16 and 17 November 2017 we ran our inaugural National Permanency Conference – Connections for Life in Sydney. The conference addressed the importance of permanency for children and their connections with family, culture, community and self. We heard from international and local speakers and politicians including Sir Martin Narey, Dr Sylvia Rowlands, Senator the Hon Zed Seselja, The Hon Pru Goward MP, Professor Selena Bartlett and Sheryl Batchelor. The conference focussed on exploring ways to support vulnerable and at risk children to have access to permanent, loving and stable homes.

Globally there are approximately 18 million orphans who have lost both parents, and domestically within Australia approximately 46,000 children in out of home care, with  over 30,000 children who have been living away from birth family for over two 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. The negative life outcomes that many of these children face now and in later life are a result of the multiple traumas they experience – with higher rates of homelessness, interactions with the justice system and lower rates of education and health.

In response to this untenable situation, Community Services Ministers from each state and territory committed in 2016 to making permanency a national priority for Australia’s children.

Conference delegates heard from the states and territories on developments since their commitment a year prior to progress permanency. International and national speakers provided insights into permanency and adoption practices globally; the latest evidenced-based interventions to support families at risk of losing their children; as well as trauma informed practices and support information for adoptive families. 

The conference brought together politicians, policy-makers, government departments, NGOs, practitioners, researchers and other members of the sector. A parallel event was run with sessions tailored to and available to the community. 

A Sunset Refreshments event was also held on the Thursday evening to provide a networking opportunity.

Major sponsors included:

Platinum – NSW Government

Silver: Australian Government Department of Social Services

Supporter: Eldon & Anne Foote Trust Donor Advised Program

Sunset Drinks Event : EY


Download the program Download the Conference handbook

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Connections for Life Presentations

Thanks to our speakers, we are able to provide a few snapshots of the conference content here.