Adoption has been in the news recently with changes to the NSW adoption laws and recommendations for a national adoption law.
Currently the laws for Adoption in Australia vary from state to state rather than an Australia wide law that is easily navigated. The adoption system as it stands in Australia does not guarantee a stable healthy environment for the more than 47,000 children living in out-of-home care.
Adopting a child is a very sensitive topic; there are many reasons why a child could be in “out of home care” and may become available for adoption. The situation can be very stressful for both birth parents and those wishing to adopt.
Changes to NSW Adoption Laws
Recently the NSW government changed the adoption laws to allow Adoption without parental consent. The changes impose two-year deadlines on permanency decisions and narrow the grounds for these decisions to be varied or challenged.
The changes are outlined below.
Children and Young Persons (Care and Protection) Amendment Bill 2018
The changes to the Adoption laws were approved by the NSW Government on Thursday 22nd November amidst amongst much consternation from community organisations. Aboriginal leaders and community members say the changes will lead to another stolen generation. Aboriginal children and young people make up almost 40% of those in the out-of-home care system.
Federal Parliamentary Committee 
An Inquiry into local adoption was opened in March 2018 by the Commonwealth Social Policy and Legal Affairs Committee. Its report was released today the 26th Nov 2018. The Committee has recommended the Federal Government work with the States and Territories to enact a national adoption law, after committing to a national adoption framework. “The system, as we currently have it in Australia, is trapping many of these children into an unhealthy cycle,” Julia Banks the Liberal MP said while launching the report in Canberra on Monday.
A national adoption law would make the current state-based system less complex, more consistent and lead to more adoptions.
At elringtons we have significant experience in adoptions for children under 18, adults and all other family matters regarding parenting issues. If you would like legal advice on any of these issues please contact our family law team.