Media Release by The Hon Larry Anthony MP

Adoption rate continues to fall

Minister for Children and Youth Affairs, Larry Anthony, today today notedsaid that the latest figures released by the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare that shows the continued fall in Australia’s adoption rates.

“The report shows that there were 472 adoptions of children in 2002-03, a 16 per cent decrease from the 561 adoptions in 2001-02.

“Of the 472 adoptions, 59 per cent (297) were inter-country placements where more than one third (36 per cent) of the children adopted were from South Korea, 17 per cent were from China, 14 per cent were from Ethiopia and 12 per cent from India.

“There was also a drop in the number of children adopted by relatives, carers, foster parents or guardians, referred to as ‘known child’ adoptions, down from 160 to 116.

“The age of children being adopted varied depending on the type of the adoption. For ‘local placement’ adoptions 69 per cent of children were aged under one year.
For inter-country placement adoptions, 59 per cent of children were aged one to four years. For ‘known’ child adoptions 97 per cent were aged five years and over.

“With Australia’s population going over the 20 million mark just last week, 472 adoptions a year seems very low. Although numbers of adoptions have fluctuated in the past decade, they have generally followed the downward trend that began in the early 1970s, falling from 1,052 in 1991-92 to the current level of just 472 in 2002-03.

“It is a concern to me that we have around 20,000 children physically removed from their homes each year due to child abuse and neglect. More than 9,000 of these children end up in foster care and many have multiple placements.

“I hope the agreement of governments to develop a National Plan for Foster Children will see an improvement in this situation down the track to give children at risk a better sense of security and permanency in their lives,” Mr Anthony said.