Media Release by Senator the Hon Zed Seselja

Adoption needs to be a priority

Adoptions have dropped to the lowest level on record, according to the AIHW report: Adoptions Australia 2015-16 released today.

“Around 30,000 Australian children have been in out of home care for more than 2 years yet we saw only 196 children adopted in the past year. This is a failing of government’s right around Australia,” said Senator Zed Seselja, Assistant Minister for Social Services and Multicultural Affairs.

“We know the facts. We know going from foster care home to foster care home is not good for children. We know foster care should be a temporary solution to children in need but evidence shows overwhelmingly that children need stability and permanency in their lives.

Senator Seselja said young people in the out of home care system are also 14 times more likely to also be a part of the youth justice system.

“Young people who enter the out of home care system are more likely to need specialist homelessness support services and those who are in the system long term are less likely to finish school and be employed.

“These children are our most vulnerable and they need our help. We need to make a difference in the lives of these thousands of children and allow them to have permanent homes.

At the meeting with State and Territory Community Services Ministers’ Meeting in November “Ministers agreed the Commonwealth, state and territory governments would work collaboratively to develop a set of guiding principles to drive improvement in the achievement of permanency outcomes for children in out-of-home care.” In light of these latest figures this work is all the more urgent.

On the weekend the NSW Government announced a plan to increase permanency. An overhaul which includes parents having only 2 years to clean up their act or have their kids put up for adoption or permanent guardianship is set to make a huge difference in the number of kids being given permanent homes in coming years.

“I would encourage all states and territories to follow the lead of NSW. We need all jurisdictions to be proactive and ensure they are doing everything they can to give children stability,” urged Senator Seselja.

“Putting the child at the centre and making a decision in the best interest of our children should be the number one priority for all ministers who have this portfolio responsibility.” Senator Seselja concluded.