Frontline child protection caseworkers and managers will be workshopping how best to help children into safe and permanent families through Open Adoption in a roadshow across the state.
Minister for Family and Community Services Brad Hazzard said Open Adoption was very different to past adoption practices which had caused untold grief. Open Adoption ensures children know their identity and can remain in contact with their birth family while in the safety and permanency of an adopted family.
“Premier Mike Baird has committed the Government to implement an Institute of Open Adoption and he has made it clear we want to see adoption levels increase,” Mr Hazzard said.
Mr Hazzard said he was heartened by a recent survey of caseworkers across FACS and NGOs that showed strong in-principle support for Open Adoption but uncertainty around its practice due to little on-the-job experience.
“These workshops will go a long way to give frontline workers and managers the knowledge, skills and confidence to consider Open Adoption. It will not be the answer for all children currently in Out Of Home Care, but for some it will be a permanent and safe home.”
The survey showed demand for information including: court processes and legislation; post adoption support; determining if adoption was in the best interest of the child and applying the Government’s Safe Home for Life (SHFL) reforms.
Under the SHFL reforms, Open Adoption is to be considered as an option if children cannot be restored to their biological parents. It is not considered suitable for Aboriginal children and the focus is for placement with kinship carers.
Workshops will be held on the Central Coast 18 February; Orange 1 March; Ballina 8 March; Coffs Harbour 10 March; Tamworth 15 March; Albury 22 March and Wollongong 30 March.
The NSW Government is committed to helping children into safe and permanent homes and Mr Hazzard said just on 30 per cent of all adoptions undertaken in Australia last year were for children in Out of Home Care in NSW.