ADOPTION, FOSTER CARE AND THE RIGHTS OF THE CHILD
Stephen Page is a Brisbane lawyer specialising in LGBTI legal issues. He shares his opinion on the proposed changes to Queensland’s adoption laws with Andrew Shaw.
What impact will legalising adoption for same-sex couples and singles have on the numbers of adoptions in Queensland?
Very little. Adoptions are currently at historic lows. Given recent trends, the availability of children for adoption is likely to drop further. Other countries generally do not allow their children to be adopted internationally by same-sex couples.
Barnardos Australia suggests the new laws should encourage open adoption, do you agree?
The current Adoption Act 2009 is written on the basis of open adoptions. I believe that it’s a good idea – so the child has control of who they are and their place in the world. I believe it’s also consistent with our international obligations, including under the International Convention on the Rights of the Child.
If adoption becomes legal for same-sex couples and singles in Queensland, will it make it easier for LGBT long term foster carers to adopt?
That’s unlikely. It is very difficult for long term foster carers to be able to adopt in Queensland. For those same-sex couples who obtained Family Law Act orders because as a matter of sexuality they could not obtain adoption orders, it may be easier for them to adopt the children already in their care.
What are the barriers to adoption for long-term foster carers? What rights do the biological parents have? Whose rights predominate?
The Child Protection Act as interpreted by Child Safety officers is to ensure that the child is able to be reunited at some stage with the parents. This means that long-term foster carers do not have the ability to adopt. More importantly, this often means that children do not have long term stable placements, but instead have on average six placements during their time in care – a figure that can only bode badly for the upbringing of a child. How anyone is able to have a stable upbringing after six placements, let alone children who have been the subject of abuse and neglect, appears not to be child focused to me.
More about this topic Source: Andrew Shaw – Gay News Networks
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