30 November 2018
I opposed changes to laws that make removal and adoption of children from their biological parents easier. There is serious and widespread concern across almost all child protection stakeholders and Aboriginal leaders and advocates that the new laws will create another stolen generation.
Courts will now have a two-year time limit for considering whether a child can reasonably be restored to their parents and will have more power to dispense a parent’s consent if a guardian seeks to adopt the child. It will also be harder for parents to get their children back from state care if their situation changes.
There are lots of wonderful stories of foster carers adopting and raising happy children but removing children from loving parents who face challenges like addiction, poverty, trauma, mental health and intergenerational disadvantage must remain an option of last resort. This can be complex and each case will be different but the courts must have discretion to do what is in the child’s best interest and the department must provide parents with real help to look after their children.