Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2015 Week 10 Hansard (Wednesday, 16 September 2015) . . Page.. 3074 ..
MS LAWDER (Brindabella) (12.09): I move:
That this Assembly:
(a) the ACT Government’s current blitz on criminal cases in the ACT court system has resulted in a backlog of civil cases. Due to the backlog of civil cases a number of children and families in the ACT have been advised they have a long wait for adoptions to be finalised;
(b) members of the Canberra community are concerned about the length of time it takes to adopt a child in the ACT. In 2013-2014 there were only 17 adoptions in the ACT; 10 intercountry adoptions and only seven local adoptions; and
(c) the ACT Government objectives of the Out of Home Care Strategy is costing approximately $39 million over 2015-2016 to 2018-2019 of taxpayer’s money, yet fails to provide the emotional stability and permanency that these children need; and
(2) calls on the ACT Government to:
(a) recognise the benefits to children, families and the Canberra community in making the adoption processes faster and streamlined;
(b) take immediate action to reduce the backlog of civil cases in the ACT court system and report back to the Assembly in November 2015 in relation to how it will achieve this; and
(c) prioritise faster processing of adoptions in the ACT court system and report back to the Assembly in November 2015 on the number of children waiting for an adoption order to be made in the ACT and the average waiting time for an adoption order to be made in the ACT.
I am pleased to move this motion today because constituents have been raising their concerns with me about the lengthy local adoption process. I think it is an issue that the ACT government could take action on almost immediately to try to address the length of time adoption does take. A child’s birth family is vitally important. However, we all recognise that there are many situations where it is not in the child’s best interest to live with and be cared for by their birth family and unfortunately this is the reality for many children and young people in the ACT.
I acknowledge that from 2015-16 to 2018-19 the ACT government is investing approximately $39 million in a new out of home care strategy called a step up for our kids. And one of the objectives of the out of home care strategy is to promote significant increases in permanency including adoptions. I have spoken before about this strategy and commended the government for their work in this area and I reiterate