Mr Baird presented awards to all finalists at the 2015 NSW Australian of the Year awards presentation held at the Museum of Contemporary Art.
Ms Furness has been recognised for her work fighting for the rights of children in Australia and around the world, and leading the push for national adoption law reform.
“Deborra-Lee Furness is an inspiring member of our community who is currently leading the campaign to inspire more Australians to consider adoption,” Mr Baird said.
“As a mother of two adopted children herself, Deborra-Lee is using her profile in a positive way, inspiring others to lead by her example to help vulnerable children find loving homes.
“Deborra-Lee also established National Adoption Awareness Week in 2008, celebrated this week, and developed the campaign from the grassroots organisation into the advocacy group it is today.
“Her passion for protecting our country’s most disadvantaged and vulnerable children is admirable and I wish her well when she is considered for the 2015 Australian of the Year Award.”
Minister for Families and Community Services Gabrielle Upton said Deborra-Lee Furness had been the catalyst for adoption reform in Australia in recent years.
“I would like to congratulate Ms Furness for her work urging governments across Australia to simplify the child adoption process, particularly for overseas’ adoptions,” Ms Upton said.
“NSW is leading the nation in this area. We are implementing the most sweeping improvements to child protection in a decade through the NSW Government’s Safe Home for Life initiative.
“Ms Furness has helped transform social attitudes and laws around this issue and I wish her well as she is considered for the national awards to be announced in 2015.”