Concerns regarding adoption provisions in the 2013 NSW child protection legislation amendment bill

The Child Protection Legislation Amendment Bill 2013 introduces a set of permanent placement principles (proposed section 10A) which would see adoption considered whenever a child or young person (other than children and young persons identified as Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders) cannot realistically be restored to his or her parents or placed in the guardianship of a relative, kin or suitable other.

Also, a proposed change to section 83(4) would require that the Director-General must consider whether adoption is appropriate any time it has been determined that restoration to the child’s parents is not realistic.

Concerns about this proposed approach to including adoption, which permanently severs the legal relationship between parents and child, include that:

Evidence does not establish that adoption produces better outcomes – instead, stability and quality of placements are important, which needs to be addressed by improving the management and resourcing of foster care placements:

Fact sheet: Troubling proposals in new child protection legislation

Have you heard about the Child Protection Legislation Amendment Bill?

The NSW Government has introduced proposed changes to the child protection system that the Premier himself labelled as “radical”. These changes were initially outlined in a discussion paper released in late 2012 and have caused concern among many stakeholders.

Read the Bill

What are the key changes in the Bill?

  • New agreements and court orders for early interventions that aim to improve parenting capacity in at-risk families, including before a child is born. [Sections 38A-38E]
  • Fixed timeframes to make a decision about whether children who have been removed from their family have a realistic chance of being restored. [Section 83]
  • A hierarchy of preferred ‘permanency’ options which considers adoption whenever a non-Aboriginal child cannot be in the care of a family member. [Section 10A and related sections]