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Media Release by The Hon Larry Anthony MP

Adoption rate too low

Minister for Children and Youth Affairs, Larry Anthony, today welcomed the increased rate of adoptions as reported in Adoptions Australia 2001-02 by the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare, but noted it was still far too low.

“The report shows that there were 561 adoptions in 2001-02, 47 more than in 2000-01. There were 294 intercountry adoptions with 93 coming from South Korea.

“There has also been a rise in the number of children adopted by relatives, carers, foster parents or guardians, referred to as ‘known child’ adoptions, up from 137 to 160.

“However, with Australia’s population of 19.5 million people, 561 adoptions a year is very low. By comparison, the United States of America have around 500,000 adoptions a year.

“It is a concern to me that we have 20,000 children physically removed from their homes each year due to child abuse and neglect. 17,000 of these children end up in foster care and many have multiple placements.

“I have sympathy with views expressed to me in the past that many of these children should be put in more permanent care rather than the roundabout of foster care.

“The report also identifies that New South Wales has increased ‘known child’ adoptions because legislative changes encourage permanency planning, particularly as it applies to children in long-term care.

“Perhaps other States should be looking at this option,” Mr Anthony said.