Page 3107 - Week 10 - Wednesday, 16 September 2015

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have stress on them. It is a long drawn-out assessment with parts needing to be redone if a six-month period elapses and they have to get assessments redone. Case workers have to remain involved with these families while they await court decisions, permanency assessments information and finalisation, and these resources could be better used somewhere else in the system to benefit other children and families in need.

Earlier today Mr Corbell talked about the statistics about court time frames. These timings may apply as to when peoples’ matters are listed in the court. But there is still much time before this, before you get to the lodge or list process in the court. Earlier this morning when we spoke about this before lunch and Mr Corbell provided some of the statistics about the court, there were a couple of people in the gallery and one of those people has provided me with a few more examples. She said, “I have just spoken with a friend”—this is in the lunch break; this is very recently—“who has had her son and daughter with them since they were five and three years old. Now they are 12 and 10 years old. They had applied 18 months ago and it still has not been lodged or listed in court.”

Another example: “I just spoke to another friend who laughed at me when I asked her if her children had been adopted. She has five children all with her until 18 who have been placed with her from out of home care. She said the process is too long and she just wanted to get on with parenting the kids.’” Case workers are telling foster parents to expect lengthy time frames—two to five years or longer. Why would case workers be telling parents that if it was not what the expectation is? This is what the perception is of the majority of foster parents when they think of adopting their children from out of home care.

What Mr Corbell could have been referring to today is enduring parental responsibility, which is obtained by parents instead of adoption, as another example of the statistics he used today. If it is not the court process that is slowing down adoptions, what is it? What is taking so long? It does not appear to be happening in the directorate. We have just spoken about the good job that they are doing in their new out of home care and a step up for our kids strategies.

So, if it is not the court system, what is it? Why are case workers telling prospective parents that they can expect a two to five-year wait? Why is it the community’s general expectation of two to five years or more for adoptions to be finalised? How are we going to address this, to give families some security and some comfort in the knowledge that their children can start at school with their adoptive parents’ names and not have to explain to their classmates and teachers, and other people years down the track, why their name has suddenly changed?

I do not think there are many children who want to go through that with their classmates. There are parents out there who are ready to step up for their kids and create new families. It has enormous community benefit and we should be taking advantage of that.

Mr Gentleman’s amendment makes some good points. I agree with what Mr Gentleman has said, but his amendment misses the whole point of my motion

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