Page 631 - Week 02 - Thursday, 16 February 2017

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0eveloping options for how to address the issues raised in the report, is now being supported by the Human Services Registrar in lieu of Disability ACT.

I have pleasure in presenting the disability services official visitor annual report for 2015-2016.

Domestic adoption process in the ACT

Paper and statement by minister

MS STEPHEN-SMITH (Kurrajong—Minister for Community Services and Social Inclusion, Minister for Disability, Children and Youth, Minister for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Affairs, Minister for Multicultural Affairs and Minister for Workplace Safety and Industrial Relations) (4.09): For the information of members, I present the following paper:

Domestic Adoption Process in the ACT—Review—Final report, dated February 2017

I ask leave to make a statement in relation to the paper.

Leave granted.

MS STEPHEN-SMITH: Today I am very pleased to share with members the outcomes of the domestic adoption task force. The task force was established in response to a Legislative Assembly motion in August 2016 in order to identify issues and make recommendations about the timely and appropriate completion of domestic adoption processes in the ACT. The Community Services Directorate is already working to address some of the issues identified in the report, and a full government response will be delivered by the end of March.

It is important to note that the task force’s work supports the government’s commitment to improve permanency for children and young people under A step up for our kids, the government’s five-year reform strategy for out of home care. This reform agenda includes a focus on achieving permanency in a timely manner for children and young people who are unable to live with their birth families. Our long-term goal has always been to achieve permanency for children and young people either through restoring children to their parents or by maintaining a stable relationship with carers. The recently released report on government services shows that we have been moving in the right direction in achieving this goal. As part of A step up for our kids the ACT government introduced significant reforms to achieve permanency earlier for children and young people in care. The government made these changes to increase stability, improve life outcomes and better support children and young people in out of home care. In this context we consider adoption first and foremost as a service for children and young people, an outcome that will help them to achieve lifelong stability, permanency and identity.

In the ACT, permanency can be achieved through either an adoption order made by the Supreme Court or through an enduring parental responsibility order made by the Children’s Court. For reasons related to the circumstances of the individual, one order

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