Media Release by Senator the Hon Zed Seselja

NSW leading the way with adoptions

Adoption numbers are on the rise, for the first time in a decade, thanks in no small part to the incredible work being undertaken by NSW, Assistant Minister for Social Services and Multicultural Affairs, Senator the Hon. Zed Seselja, said today.

The Australian Institute of Health and Welfare (AIHW) released Adoptions Australia 2016-17 earlier today which showed 315 adoptions being finalised in the last year, up from 278 in the year prior. Of the 315 adoptions, 177 of those (57%) were in NSW.

“NSW made a decision to prioritise the wellbeing of children over absolutely everything else, and they took direct action to get outcomes. They implemented an adoption taskforce and legislated timeframes for decision making. Now we are seeing the results of this work. We are seeing more children in stable homes,” said Assistant Minister Seselja.

“We know that a sense of family security and stability mean a child is less likely to experience mental health and wellbeing issues, become homeless, or interact with the youth justice system, and that they are more likely to get a good education and secure employment.

“At the most recent Community Services Ministers Meeting, for the first time there was a commitment from all states and territories to permanency planning and to national reporting on the time it is taking. While this is a step in the right direct, states need to make this a priority.

“We need all jurisdictions to be proactive and ensure they are doing everything they can to give stability and improve the outcomes for some of Australia’s most vulnerable children,” urged Assistant Minister Seselja.

“With more than 30,000 children in out-of-home care for longer than two years, we need to do absolutely everything we can to ensure these children have permanent loving homes.”

The report released today also shows that 22 per cent of adoptions were of children from countries outside Australia. The time parents wait to adopt a child from outside Australia has fallen from five years and four months in 2014-15 to two years and nine months in 2016-17, which is a direct result of the Coalition Government’s 2014 reforms to streamline and strengthen intercountry adoption process.

“We wanted families to get on with their new lives without any unnecessary and un-anticipated legal complications. These reforms have changed the trajectory of so many children’s lives,” concluded Assistant Minister Seselja.