Commissioner for Children and Young People Colin Pettit is inviting young people with experience of adoption to share their views on proposed changes to the state’s adoption legislation.
Commissioner Pettit said that the recent statutory review of the Adoption Act 1994 had recommended changes to the Act.
“There are 31 recommendations from the recent review and I would like to ensure children and young people with experience of adoption have the opportunity to provide comment on these recommendations and how they should be implemented,” Mr Pettit said.
“These recommendations include changes around determining the best interests and wellbeing of a child, mandatory counselling for children required to consent to their adoption and for birth parents under 16 years of age considering adoption for their child, how sibling relationships are maintained and review of adoption plans.
“Children and young people who have been adopted will have an opportunity to confidentially share their views on how they were adopted, the level of involvement they had in decisions and anything else they want the Commissioner to know about their adoption experience.
“Adoption has a profound impact on a child’s wellbeing and all children and young people have the right to be heard on decisions that affect them.”
Mr Pettit said that this would be the first specific consultation held with children and young people on adoption in WA.
There are three categories of adoption in WA – intercountry adoptions of children from overseas, local adoptions of children from within Australia and ‘known’ adoptions, including adoptions by step-parents, other relatives and carers.
In 2016-17 there were 44 adoptions orders made in WA involving 27 children and 17 orders for young people over the age of 18 years. Of the 44 adoptions, 28 were known adoptions, five were local and 11 were intercountry adoptions.
Young people’s views from this consultation will be provided to the Department of Communities and the Minister for Child Protection.
Young people aged 12 to 25 can share their views confidentially in a range of ways, by participating in an interview, completing an online survey or being part of a focus group discussion. To participate, young people can contact the Commissioner by sending an SMS to 0434 327 803, phoning 1800 072 444 or emailing firstname.lastname@example.org