Radical child protection reform needs a cautious approach

Greens MP and Community Services spokesperson Jan Barham is encouraging all communities to participate in the debate around new NSW adoption and child protection reform.

“As the Premier suggested at today’s press conference, we are seeing a radical change to child protection and adoption laws. If we don’t get this right, then some of the state’s most vulnerable families face intergenerational displacement and dysfunction,” says Ms Barham.

“While the Minister’s $35 million dollar commitment to early intervention support for families is laudable, there are some serious elements of the adoption and child protection reform that need very careful consideration.”

“Despite tough love rhetoric and dysfunctional family horror stories offered by Minister Goward, fast tracking the adoption of children from out of home care is not the answer.”

“The Minister’s argument that the legal stability inherent in adoption is enough to improve the life outcomes for children in out of home care is simplistic. It ignores the complexity of providing environments in which children and young people who have been subject to abuse and neglect can thrive.”

“No one wants a child to experience a revolving door of care placements. While adoption seems like an alluring answer to achieving permanency for children, the jury is still out on whether it is a superior option to foster care.”

“It is very easy for us to pass judgement on mothers who have substance abuse issues during pregnancy and fathers who physically abuse young children. While no one wants a child to grow up in an environment of abuse and neglect, that child will always have a biological bond and connection with their family,” Ms Barham concluded.