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Monday, 7 November 2016
Page: 3050

Mr PASIN (Barker) (16:21): This week is National Adoption Awareness Week. As a father of two girls under seven, it is heartbreaking for me to hear stories of child neglect and abuse—stories that, unfortunately, we seem to be hearing far too often. Equally heartbreaking are the statistics that I learned this morning at the National Adoption Awareness Week campaign launch. In Australia, there are some 30,000 children who have been in out-of-home care for more than two years and are not living with a relative or kinship placement. Most of these children have been removed from abusive or neglectful situations. Stability and permanency are key. The implications for children who experience the trauma associated with living in and out of care is devastating. This brings me to more statistics. Children who have had an experience with impermanent care are three times more likely to suffer from drug and alcohol addiction. They have increased chances of experiencing homelessness, mental health problems and difficulty finding stable employment.

These statistics not only throw light on this issue that is devastating to individual children who find themselves in these circumstances but also throw light on an issue for society as a whole. Permanent adoption is a viable solution for this issue when reunification or placement with kin is not possible. Unfortunately, only 209 of the 30,000 Australian children in need of a permanent home were adopted in 2015. And, while the number of children not able to live with their birth family grows by nine per cent each year, the number of adoptions decreases by four per cent.