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Adoption a complex issue that needs more consideration: AASW

Published: 6 November 2016

Children and young people who come into the care of the state are amongst the most vulnerable members of our society. Adoption may not be the best option for many of these children and much care is needed to recognise the best interests of each individual child, says the AASW National President Karen Healy AM.

“Governments need to consider the complexities of adoption and the long-term consequences for children,” said Professor Healy, in the run up National Adoption Awareness Week.

“International research shows between 6 and11 per cent of adoptions from the out-or-home care system fail, and some studies show even higher rates of adoption placement breakdown for children over two years.”

Professor Healy says governments have a responsibility to concentrate efforts on creating environments in which families are supported so that the various factors that increase the likelihood of child abuse and neglect are substantially reduced.

“This will not be possible unless governments make a long-term term commitment to adequately funding and resourcing primary, secondary and tertiary protective services,” she said.

“National Adoption Awareness week provides an opportunity to discuss the issue and reflect on what causes children to be in a situation where the permanent separation from their parents is being considered, and commit to a developing a more preventative approach.”

While adoption may be a solution in some cases, the best interest of the child must be of paramount importance. This includes taking into account children’s physical, emotional, social, educational and cultural needs, especially in light of the overrepresentation of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children in state care, Professor Healy says.

“When exploring adoption, planning should include the parents, when possible, and recognise the right of children to maintain connections with their family, culture and other significant relationships. Many children and adults who have experienced adoption indicate they want to stay connected to their original families even if they are unable to live together. It is vital that the voices of children are heard in the decision-making process.”

The AASW represents over 10,000 professional social workers from around Australia many of whom work in the area of child protection.

To arrange an interview, please contact Emma Pegrum, Media and Marketing Manager on 02 6199 5011 or 0408 200 191

AASW - Australian Association of Social Workers