Finding a safe and stable home for children and young people in out of home care led the agenda at a forum attended by over 150 people in Sydney today.
“There are almost 20,000 children and young people in out of home care across the state and, sadly, many of them end up going through quite a number of placements during their time in care,” Minister for Family and Community Services Brad Hazzard said.
“Every child deserves a safe and stable home for life and, in the right circumstances, open adoption (where contact is maintained with the birth family) can be a way of providing this. Today is about opening the door to the possibility of open adoption.”
Premier Mike Baird, who spoke at the forum, said the NSW Government is committed to making adoption in NSW faster and easier.
“Currently, children and adoptive parents wait too long with too much uncertainty and it is wonderful to see so many passionate people come together today to talk about how we can do better,” Mr Baird said.
“The NSW Government is already working hard in this area – establishing Australia’s first government-supported Institute of Open Adoption, expected to be launched in early 2016, which will lead the development of evidence based best practice– but we want to do more and this forum is the start of an important conversation.”
Hosted by SBS Insight’s Jenny Brockie, the adoption forum builds on the work of the NSW Government’s forum on out of home care last week.
Barnardos CEO Deidre Cheers said the forum – which brought together children and young people, carers, birth parents, adoptive parents, researchers, NGOs and Government agencies – offered a rare insight into the world of open adoption from the perspective of those with first-hand experience.
“Adoption is such a critical issue for children and babies whom the courts have ruled can never return home safely due to abuse,” Ms Cheers said.
“We applaud the Minister for rightly giving young people the opportunity to talk about how open adoption has changed their lives.”