Aussie Adoptions Remain Low
11 December 2014 at 9:26 am
There were just 317 adoptions finalised in Australia in 2013-14, a fall of nine per cent from the previous year, according to a report released by the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare (AIHW).
The report, Adoptions Australia 2013–14, shows that while the number of Australian children adopted was similar to the previous year, the number of children adopted from overseas continues to decline.
“Of the 317 finalised adoptions, 203 were of children who were born or were permanently residing in Australia-a slight decrease from the 210 such adoptions in the previous year,” AIHW spokesperson Tim Beard said.
Over a quarter (28 per cent) of all finalised adoptions were by known carers, with the 89 carer adoptions in 2013-14 triple the number of this type of adoption that occurred a decade ago.
“The rise in carer adoptions has been driven by New South Wales, where recent reforms have increased the focus on adoptions by known carers,” Beard said.
“The 89 adoptions by known carers, such as foster parents, was the highest number of this type of adoption in the past decade.
“This is a stark contrast to other types of adoption, which have generally declined from year to year.”
Earlier this year Prime Minister Tony Abbott committed to overhaul the adoption system in Australia to prevent families waiting between five and 10 years for a child.
The Federal Government introduced legislation to Parliament to allow citizenship to children adopted by Australians under bilateral arrangements with countries that are not parties to the Hague Convention on inter-country adoption.
The AIHW report found that the number of finalised inter-country adoptions dropped from 129 to 114 between in 2012-13 and 2013-14.
The most common countries of origin were Taiwan (41 adoptions or 36 per cent), the Philippines (18 or 16 per cent) and South Korea (13 or 11 per cent).
The report said the overall processing times for inter-country adoptions (covering processes in Australia and overseas) are beginning to stabilise with the median length of time remaining at around 5 years in 2013-14.
“Inter-country processing times are largely affected by factors such as the number and characteristics of children in need of adoption, the number of applications received, and the resources of the overseas authority-all factors outside the control of Australian authorities,” Beard said.
“While the majority of inter-country adoptees were aged under 5, the percentage of infants under 12 months has dropped to 14 per cent of all adoptions in 2013-14.
“In contrast, all children who were the subject of a finalised local adoption in 2013-14 were aged under 5, with almost half being infants under 12 months.”
In addition to Adoptions Australia 2013–14, the AIHW has also launched a new data display for intercountry adoptions, which allows users to explore data to find out more about trends and patterns of adoption in Australia.
The AIHW is a national agency set up by the Federal Government to provide regular and information and statistics on Australia's health and welfare.