SNAICC– National Voice for Our Children welcomes the opportunity to provide input into the Inquiry Into Local Adoption.
SNAICC notes particularly the terms of reference stipulating that the Committee will inquire into local adoption as an option for providing permanency and stability for children in out-of-home-care (OOHC). With Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children being 10 times more likely than non-Indigenous children to be placed in OOHC, this review is particularly relevant for our communities. Adoption is a sensitive and critical issue for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children and families. Regardless of the intentions that underpin permanency measures, the permanent removal of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children from their families presents harrowing echoes of the Stolen Generations across communities. SNAICC contends that the primary focus should be on preventing abuse, neglect and removal of children through appropriate investment in early intervention, intensive family support and healing services.
Outlined in this submission are SNAICC’s key positions related to adoption and permanency planning for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children. The key principles underlying our approach, as well as the recommendations put forward, outline the necessity for a differentiated approach to adoption legislation, policy and practice as it relates to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children.