Saturday, 26th May was National Sorry Day, the anniversary of the Bringing Them Home report (1997), which documented the systematic removal of thousands of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children forcibly taken from their families and communities. This year’s commemoration of this important day was marred by NSW government announcements concerning the introduction of its My Forever Family program, with the irony of these announcement being made so close to National Sorry Day not escaping the attention of the Secretariat of National Aboriginal Child Care (SNAICC) and organisers of the Family Matters campaign.
It is perhaps a strange time for the New South Wales government to announce controversial changes to child protection – including a push towards open adoptions – when Aboriginal children are so heavily overrepresented in the out-of-home care system (Lorena Allam, The Guardian).
PeakCare strongly supports the concerns about the My Forever Family program raised by our counterparts from NSW peak bodies as reported on by NSW media outlets.
When a child must be removed to guarantee their safety, the decisions made must consider connection to kin, culture and country as vital parts of a child’s stability, wellbeing and development. Adoption overrides this.
Aboriginal Child, Family and Community Care State Secretariat (AbSec)
Adoption through the statutory child protection system will never be an acceptable or appropriate solution for Aboriginal children. Prioritising adoption over family reunification is contrary to the best interests of all vulnerable children and young people. (Tim Ireland, CEO AbSec)
NSW Association of Children’s Welfare Agencies (ACWA)
While permanency for children can take many forms, restoring a child to their birth family whenever possible is always going to be the ultimate goal. Adoption from care is just one small part of the solution, and is appropriate for only a limited number of children. To give it false prominence, as the My Forever Family program reflects, sends the wrong message to the community that out-of-home care is an easy pipeline to adoption. (Andrew McCallum, CEO ACWA)
To read SNAICC’s media statement, click here.
PeakCare, SNAICC, AbSec and ACWA would like to hear your views. Your comments can be entered below.