Advocates slam adoption as child safety fix

 

CHILD protection advocates have taken aim at the Morrison Government and Queensland's deputy coroner over a renewed push to protect vulnerable children through adoptions.

Assistant Children and Families Minister Michelle Landry had seized on a coronial recommendation for adoptions to be "routinely and genuinely" considered for at-risk children.

The recommendation was in findings released last week into the horrific death of Caboolture toddler Mason Jet Lee in 2016 with Ms Landry calling on child protection systems to have the "moral courage" to remove at-risk kids.

PeakCare chief executive Lindsay Wegener slammed comments, saying they were "divisive" and "offensive''.

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PeakCare chief executive Lindsay Wegener has taken aim at two high powered supporters of adoption for vulnerable children.
PeakCare chief executive Lindsay Wegener has taken aim at two high powered supporters of adoption for vulnerable children.

"PeakCare entirely rejects the notion that our concerns or those held by others are borne out of a lack of "moral courage"," Mr Wegener said in a letter to members.

"It is an offensive accusation. Whatever opinions may be held about adoption, it must be assumed that all who participate in the debate hold children's best interests at heart and they do not deserve to be chided for expressing their views."

Ms Landry said she was committed to working with the sector on strategies to improve permanency outcomes for the 45,000 children in out-of-home care across Australia.

"However, as the deputy coroner made clear in her recommendations, I believe that adoption needs to be more genuinely considered as an option for children in out-of-home care in Queensland," she said.

Assistant Children and Families Minister Michelle Landry says adoption needs to be considered as an option for at-risk children.
Assistant Children and Families Minister Michelle Landry says adoption needs to be considered as an option for at-risk children.

Mr Wegener also blasted deputy coroner Jane Bentley's original recommendation, saying it ignored "other means of achieving permanence and stability" in children's care that had "far lesser risks than adoption".

"Rather than presenting adoption as a means to an end, the deputy coroner has depicted adoption as an end in itself - a fundamental flaw and dangerous muddling of the purpose of the child protection system," he said.

The New South Wales Government amended its adoption laws in 2018 to make an expectation that children would be permanently placed into adoptions within two years of entering the department's care.

Of 142 carer adoptions nationally in 2018-19, 136 were in NSW.

Originally published as Advocates slam adoption as child safety fix


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