GOVERNMENT MUST TAKE STEPS TO ENSURE THAT CHILDREN HAVE ACCESS TO PERMANENT HOMES

ACT Shadow Minister for Families, Youth and Community Services, Elizabeth Kikkert says that the latest adoption figures are an urgent wake-up call for all state and territory governments.

“The number of finalised adoptions in Australia is at a historical low,” Mrs Kikkert said today.

“According to the latest Adoptions Australia report released this week, only five adoptions were finalised in the ACT from 2015-16, down from nine the year before.

“Governments have been discussing this problem for far too long but the time for more talk is well and truly past. It is time that governments actually do something.

“This is not just about the families who hope to bring children into their homes on a permanent basis, and neither is it just about the three or four years of sometimes agonising frustration that can occur as the adoption process drags on and on. This is about putting children first.

“According to the latest figures, more than 43,000 Australian kids are in out-of-home care and over 30,000 of these children have been in temporary care arrangements for more than two years.

“Research from both Australia and overseas links temporary care with a number of social problems, including an increased risk of crime and future homelessness and a decreased likelihood of completing school and securing employment.

“I call upon the ACT Government to quickly take whatever steps are necessary to remove the obstacles to vulnerable children having access to the emotional security of a permanent home,” Mrs Kikkert concluded.