SNAICC News

Adoption not an option for Aboriginal children in NSW

2 April 2014 | SNAICC NEWS

The peak body for Aboriginal children and families in NSW, AbSec, has welcomed the NSW Government’s decision to exempt Aboriginal children from proposed new adoption laws that form part of the Government’s sweeping reforms to the state’s child protection system. (See the media release on the Absec website.)

AbSec CEO Angela Webb said the her agency was pleased with the announcement by NSW Minister for Families and Community Services, Pru Goward, that Aboriginal children will be placed in “kinship care” rather than up for adoption.

“AbSec has stressed to the NSW Government the importance of the role extended family and community play in keeping Aboriginal children and young people safe and connected. Adoption is not an option for our communities as this leads to issues for our young people later in life,” Ms Webb said.

“AbSec have piloted a number of early intervention programs which we have found to be successfully supporting Aboriginal families and some of the success stories are heart-warming.”

AbSec is currently piloting an Aboriginal Family Group Conferencing model that involves families, Elders, community and key stakeholders to identify solutions to address child protection concerns and ensure the safety, welfare and wellbeing of their children.

Further details on Aboriginal Family Group Conferencing can be found on the ABSEC website

In November 2013, the NSW Government introduced new legislation in Parliament to strengthen the child protection system in NSW.

“This legislation will give the state’s most vulnerable children the best chance of a better future, by increasing early intervention services, streamlining adoption and providing more support to new mothers,” Premier Barry O’Farrell said.

“The NSW Government is committed to strengthening the child protection system by giving parents, courts and caseworkers the tools they need to provide a safe environment for at-risk children.
“Our changes will put vulnerable children first, while also giving troubled mothers the help they need to turn their lives around.”

Under these new laws there will be:

  • increased early intervention services;
  • expansion of Parental Responsibility Contracts (PRCs) to support expectant mothers;
  • court-issued Parental Capacity Orders; and,
  • the streamlining of open adoption — which means adopted children can maintain a connection with their biological parents.