National

Bipartisan MPs to reform child adoption

By AAP Newswire

A bipartisan group of MPs has formed to work alongside an organisation that aims to eradicate the complex challenges involved in child adoption in Australia.

Liberal senator Zed Seselja and Labor senator Kimberley Kitching will co-chair the Parliamentary Friends of Adoption group which will work closely with Australian organisation Adopt Change.

Almost 40,000 children are in need of permanency in Australia, and just 69 children were adopted from overseas last year.

On average, children will remain within the home care system for 12 years, with some having to relocate more than 70 times.

Actress Deborra-lee Furness founded About Change a decade ago, and says she's looking forward to working with the Parliamentary Friends of Adoption and drawing more attention to the issue.

"It's negligent, and it's not right. We need to highlight these issues so the community goes 'hey, this is not okay,'" she told AAP on Monday.

"We can ask our policy makers and politicians to address it, and change it."

Furness says each state's different legislation is a key reason child adoption in Australia is such a lengthy process.

"All the states have to be on the same page," she said.

"We have just been given funding by New South Wales government to champion that pre- and post-adoption support, which is imperative for ethical adoption. I'm hoping every other state comes on board with that as well."

Furness also says an "anti-adoption culture" within the bureaucracy is stalling the progress.

"We need to revisit why it's not working, and create systems and methodologies that make it work so that these numbers can go up," she said.

Chief executive officer of Adopt Change, Renee Carter, is hoping for a national scheme to support child adoption.

"There definitely needs to be a harmonisation of what's happening. The child protection issues are the same in every state," she said.