Adoption numbers in Australia are at the lowest point on record, a recent study by the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare (AIHW) has found.
The report, released today, shows that although adoption rates are low, the number of Australian children adopted by carers are continuing to rise.
“While adoption numbers overall have declined over time, 'known child' adoptions by carers are increasing,” says AIHW spokesperson David Braddock.
The report identifies that two-hundred and ninety-two adoptions were finalised in the 2014-2015 period; the lowest annual number of adoptions on record representing an 8 per cent decrease from the number of adoptions in the 2013 -2014 period, and a significant 74 per cent decrease from the 1, 142 adoptions that were finalised 25 years earlier.
“In 2014-15, carers adopted 94 children, the highest number at any point in the previous decade-more than 4 times the 21 adoptions in 2005-06,” Mr Braddock says.
“The rise in carer adoptions has been driven by New South Wales, where recent reforms have facilitated adoptions by known carers.”
Carer adoptions, such as foster parents, have comprised of 32 per cent of all finalised adoptions this year.
Also a significant contributor to the increase in carer adoptions was ‘known child’ adoptions which represented 20 per cent of all adoptions. Known Child adoptions are adoptions of children by family members and relatives that have a pre-existing relationship with the child or children.
The AIHW report shows that during 2014-2015, 56 local adoptions were finalised and another 83 international adoptions made up 28 per cent of all adoptions finalised in this period.
International adoptions however have changed over the last decade, according to the report.
'Between 2005-06 and 2008-09, the main country of origin was China; between 2009-10 and 2011-12 it varied between China, the Philippines and Taiwan; and, since 2012-13, it has been Taiwan,' Mr Braddock said.
Whilst adoption numbers remain low, carers and foster families are creating vast change for adoption protocols in Australia.
Also working to create vast change for Australian adoptions is Adopt Change, an organisation founded by Deborra-Lee Furness that is committed to working within the community and governments to create support and change.
The Weekly's Editor-in-Chief, Helen McCabe is also a board member.