Thursday, August 25, 2016

[Australia] Australia's Changing Attitudes to Adoption - How are Gays and Lesbians Affected? by Andrew Shaw

Adoption is on the cards in Queensland (and not before time!).  Our friend Andrew Shaw at Gay News Network looks into the issues around this (and I even get quoted!)
"Andrew Shaw looks at issues around adoption in Australia, and specifically how proposed new laws in Queensland could benefit gay and lesbian carers...
At the start of August, when the Queensland government announced that the state’s laws would be amended to allow same-sex couples and singles to adopt, the response on social media was ecstatic – and bemused.
If gays and lesbians were trusted to take on responsibilities for children and adoption laws could be passed without a plebiscite, what was the problem with marriage equality? In many people’s minds the two issues are linked. But marriage has nothing to do with children in the eyes of the law, says Rodney Chiang-Cruise from Gay Dads Australia.
“While this is great news on many, many levels, practically it’s not going to make a huge difference immediately,” he says of the Queensland announcement. “But going forward five, ten, fifteen years, it may be quite a significant piece of legislation.”
The fact is, adoption in Australia has been steadily falling for some time. Figures from the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare (AIHW) show 292 adoptions were finalised in 2014-15, the lowest annual number of adoptions on record.
The history of adoption in Australia went through a conservative period in the 1970s and 80s due to the legacy of the stolen generation. Instead of adoption, foster care was considered the solution. Parents were still parents, but did not have to be responsible for child care on a daily basis. According to adoption agency Barnardos Australia, some 40,000 Australian children rely on foster care, and agencies have been fostering out children to gay and lesbian carers for decades".

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