The real work of the Australian Parliament does not take place in the House of Representative Chamber. The real work takes place in the conversations in the hallways, in our cross house committees and in meetings with ministers.
This sitting fortnight a report was presented entitled Breaking Barriers: A National Adoption Framework for Australian Children. It is Australia’s great shame that of the 48,000 children in out of home care; children who have been left, or whom the authorities have intervened to protect – only 246 have been able to be adopted in the last 12 months.
More must be done to place children who are currently in out of home care into permanent homes. I myself, have some personal experience in this area and I’ve observed the difference in behaviour and security within a child when they have a permanent place to call home.
My observations are that the interests of the child are sometimes found to be secondary to those of the birth parents. While we need to make every effort for unification, we must also seek to uphold what is best for the child.
Children must come first.
Supporting foster parents and encouraging the transition to permanency and open adoption needs more emphasis if we are to assist those 48,000 children in out of home care tonight.
State based agencies and state governments play a significant role in the welfare of children. This Federal Government Report begins a process of reform and a conversation that Australia must have.
Australia has the second lowest rate of adoption in the developed world. 48,000 of children need a place to call home. It is time to change that.
Member for Mallee
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