Commissioner invites young people with experience of adoption to share their views

Commissioner for Children and Young People

With proposed changes to the State’s adoption legislation, young people aged 12 to 25 with experience of adoption are being invited to share their views.

Children and Young People’s Commissioner Colin Pettit said a recent review had recommended changes to the Adoption Act 1994.

“There are 31 recommendations from the review and I would like to ensure children and young people with experience of adoption have the opportunity to comment on these recommendations and how they should be implemented,” he said.

The recommendations include changes around determining the best interests and wellbeing of children, mandatory counselling for children required to consent to their adoption and for birth parents under 16 years old considering adoption for their children, how sibling relationships are maintained and review of adoption plans.

“Children and young people who have been adopted can confidentially share their views on how they were adopted, their level of involvement in decisions and anything else they want me to know about their adoption experience,” Mr Pettit said.

“Adoption has a profound impact on children’s wellbeing – and all children and young people have the right to be heard on decisions that affect them.”

Mr Pettit said this would be the first specific consultation held with children and young people on adoption in Western Australia. There are three categories of adoption in WA – intercountry adoptions of children from overseas, local adoptions of children from within Australia and ‘known’ adoptions, including adoptions by step-parents, other relatives and carers.

In 2016/17 there were 44 adoption orders made in WA involving 27 children and 17 orders for young people over 18 years old. Of the 44 adoptions, 28 were known adoptions, five were local and 11 were intercountry adoptions.

Young people’s views from this consultation will be provided to the Department of Communities and Minister for Child Protection.

Young people can share their views confidentially by participating in an interview, completing an online survey or being part of a focus group discussion. To participate, young people can SMS the Commissioner on 0434 327 803, telephone 1800 072 444 or email info@ccyp.wa.gov.au.