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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2018 Week 04 Hansard (Tuesday, 10 April 2018) . . Page.. 1172 ..

possible outcomes for children and young people in care; CYPS is aware that carers are investing in obtaining permanency of a child or young person and will present the best possible case to the court in order for the court to make a final decision on these matters; CYPS advise that it has taken on board some recent feedback from the ACT court about the conduct of adoption matters—and CYPS is undertaking a review this week of present adoption matters to ensure that all applications are meeting the court’s expectations to present the strongest case possible; and CYPS is actively working with other relevant directorates to implement the recommendations of the adoption task force as well, the report of which was tabled in the Legislative Assembly in 2017.

I absolutely acknowledge that carers make a truly valuable contribution to the community by offering safe and stable environments for vulnerable children and young people. Again I can assure members of the Assembly and the public that CYPS will continue to work to support carers to achieve adoptions or EPRs. (Time expired.)

MRS KIKKERT: Minister, are you aware of any obstacles currently impeding or even delaying the adoption of children in out of home care and, if so, what are they?

MS STEPHEN-SMITH: Some of the timeliness issues were of course covered in the report of the adoptions task force and a number of those recommendations have already been addressed and others are in progress. As I said in response to the first question, CYPS is also taking on board recent feedback from ACT courts about the conduct of adoption matters and is seeking to review those issues to ensure that all applications that it makes are meeting the court’s expectations.

We need to remember that adoption matters first and foremost need to be considered in relation to what is in the best interests of the children and young people involved—that is the primary consideration in relation to adoption—and to note that enduring parental responsibility orders are an alternative to adoption in terms of providing permanency for children and young people. But I reiterate and reinforce to the Assembly that finding a safe and loving permanent home for children and young people in out of home care is and remains a priority for the government under A step up for our kids.

MRS DUNNE: Minister, will you investigate and report back to the Assembly by the end of this week on what steps led to ACT Together making the statements that they appear to have made last night? What steps are being taken to mitigate the issues that have been raised by ACT Together? Will you also take steps to ensure that the people who were at that meeting get the message loud and clear that adoption is still a priority for this government?

MS STEPHEN-SMITH: I will it take on notice to come back with any further information that I can get by the end of this sitting week. But I will say that some positive feedback has also been received in relation to the information. I have been provided with an extract from an email from a participant that I am advised I am able to share with the Assembly. It says, “Thank you so much for the opportunity to attend this evening’s permanency workshop. It was a very informative session. I had all my

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