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Overdue investment in adoption welcomed

For years the Canberra Liberals have maintained that vulnerable children need quicker access to security and stability, Shadow Minister for Families, Youth and Community Services Elizabeth Kikkert said.

In the 2018–19 ACT Budget, the government committed $3.4 million over four years for specialised staff to improve adoption and permanency processes for children in Canberra.

The Opposition welcomes the government’s overdue response to the Liberals’ calls for improvements to Canberra’s adoption processes.

It was confirmed in an Assembly estimates hearing that the new funding was due to a report recommendation made by the Domestic Adoptions Taskforce ­– a taskforce that was only established because of the hard work of former Families and Community Services Shadow Minister Nicole Lawder.

Sadly, budget statements predict that only 40 per cent of permanency targets will be reached in 2017–18 owing to a lack of priority.

“This commitment should have been delivered years ago,” Mrs Kikkert said.

“For years, the Canberra Liberals have called on the government to improve Canberra’s struggling adoption and permanency processes.

“The research is clear that insecure and instable environments harm children. The longer they are forced to wait for stability, the greater the damage can be.

“In 2015, my colleague Nicole Lawder repeatedly pushed for improvements in the adoption system.

“Both Labor and the Greens blocked these attempts, delaying help for vulnerable children in the system.

“Despite the setback, Ms Lawder persisted and successfully secured the creation of the Domestic Adoptions Taskforce, which made this important recommendation.

“Given Labor and the Greens’ history of resistance, I am certain that we would not have this funding commitment for vulnerable children without the hard work of this taskforce.

“The taskforce corroborated the Liberals’ concerns about Canberra’s adoption processes, the same concerns that I have continued to raise with government,” Mrs Kikkert concluded.


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