Breaking the adoption taboo in Australia
Why are children in dysfunctional families abused and neglected despite being reported many times to child protection authorities? Why are children further damaged by being cycled in and out of unstable foster care? Why are there so few adoptions in Australia despite the thousands of children in long-term care?
Adoption has been internationally proven as the best way to provide a safe, stable and loving family life for children who are unable to live with their biological parents. However, in relation to comparable countries, Australia has very low rates of adoption.
To coincide with National Adoption Awareness Week, this special event will examine the issues raised by Centre for Independent Studies Research Fellow Dr Jeremy Sammut’s new book, The Madness of Australian Child Protection: Why Adoption Will Rescue Australia’s Underclass Children (Connor Court).
I will be attending the Brisbane event.
This is what Dr Sammutt said earlier this year to the ABC following an inquest into the death of toddler Chloe Valentine in South Australia:
“Family preservation is an ideology, it’s based on the idea that you can fix often unfixable families, families with high levels of dysfunction, high levels of personal problems, particularly drug and alcohol abuse,” he said.
“The reality is that some families can’t be fixed.”
Dr Sammut said agencies resisted using adoption as an intervention.
“There is an anti-adoption culture within child protection departments. They simply refuse to take legal action to free children for adoption,” he said.
He believed a stigma around forced adoption policies in Australia had contributed to such reluctance.
“It’s partly due to the legacy of the Stolen Generations. It’s partly due to the legacy of forced adoption but what we’ve got to recognise is we’re talking about saving children from lives of dysfunction because the present system replicates and perpetuates intergenerational disadvantage,” he said.
“It’s made people reluctant to endorse adoption because they are concerned about replicating the errors of the past.
“That’s a legitimate concern but we’ve got to understand that what we’re doing today to try to avoid the errors of the past actually has a negative impact on children.”