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National Adoption Awareness Week 12-18 Nov 2017: Greater resourcing needed for preventative service

Published: 10 November 2017

“Adoption Awareness Week is an important time for governments to consider the complexities of adoption, the long-term consequences for children and to make a commitment to adequately funding family support services,” says Ms Cindy Smith, the Chief Executive Officer of the Australian Association of Social Workers (AASW).

National Adoption Awareness Week provides an opportunity to reflect on what causes children to be in a situation where the permanent separation from their parents is being considered.

“We have stated on numerous occasions that governments have a responsibility to focus their efforts on creating environments in which families are supported so that the various factors that increase the likelihood of child abuse, neglect and removal are substantially reduced.” she said.

“This will not be possible unless governments make a long-term commitment to properly funding family support services,” she said.

“We currently have a situation where state and territory governments spend only 17% of overall child protection funding ($700 million a year) on family support services, compared with 83% ($3.5 billion) on child protection services.”

“Children who are in the care of the state are amongst the most vulnerable members of society and while adoption may be a solution in some cases, we need to work towards developing a far more preventative approach.”

“When considering adoption, the best interest of the child must be of paramount importance, including considering children’s physical, emotional, social, educational and cultural needs, especially in light of the over-representation of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children in state care” Ms Smith says.

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

AASW - Australian Association of Social Workers