Adoption equality starts now

From 1 September 2016, the Adoption Amendment Act 2015 came into effect, meaning lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and intersex (LGBTI) couples can now apply to adopt in Victoria.

As a provider of Adoption and Permanent Care Services, Connections has followed this topic with great interest and welcomes this important amendment.

For a long time it has been our belief that Victoria’s Adoption Legislation was outdated and did not reflect the basic human rights of prospective LGBTI applicants. It is pleasing to finally see the Victorian Parliament also recognise this antiquated attitude and make the necessary changes.

We know there are many healthy infants who require a loving home but for many years have been denied this access because the Act excluded the LGBTI community.

This change now provides LGBTI couples with the same rights as any other couple to provide a loving home to a child looking for its forever family and will provide more opportunities for children to be matched with the best possible family.  

The changes also reflect that a person’s sexual orientation or gender identity is distinct from their capacity to be a loving and caring parent.

We again would like to acknowledge the role of the Premier Daniel Andrews and the Minister for Equality, Martin Foley in advocating for rights of same-sex couples and reiterate our full support of this amendment.

Prospective parents should contact the Department of Health and Human Services or an approved adoption agency to apply.

Visit dhs.vic.gov.au/adoption for more information.

Adoption Equality Passed

Connections UnitingCare commends the Premier of Victoria, The Hon. Daniel Andrews and the Victorian Parliament for passing legislative changes which will allow same-sex couples the right to adopt children.

As a provider of Adoption and Permanent Care Services, we have followed this topic with great interest as it has been debated for many months. For a long period of time it has been our belief, Victoria’s Adoption Legislation was outdated and did not reflect the human rights of prospective lesbian, gay, bisexual, trans and intersex (LGBTI) applicants and it was pleasing to finally see the Victorian Parliament recognise this and make the necessary changes.

There are many healthy infants who require a loving home but for many years have been denied this access because the current Act excludes the LGBTI community. Interestingly, single applicants are also notably discriminated against in the Adoption Act, regardless of their sexual orientation, unless it’s a last resort for a child with special needs. This presents as a major contradiction as healthy infants cannot be placed with single applicants as the legislation excludes them, however some of our most vulnerable children with special circumstances can be placed with a single person.  We are therefore implying that single people are discriminated against when it comes to adopting healthy children.

It is also our belief, all organisations delivering Adoption services must remember in the first instance, with whom a child is placed, remember in the first instace that the preference of the relinquishing parents in terms of who a child is placed should continue to be acknowledged as a right. These rights include the birth parent/s to choice of the characteristics of the family their child will reside with even if this means they may or may not be accepting of their child residing in a LGBTI family, or with a single person. These wishes must be respected if we are to have learned from our history of forced adoption.

It is our hope that with this amendment, the government will continue to work with adoption agencies across Victoria to promote a better understanding of LGBTI communities and the assessment of diverse applicants.

Once again, we would like to acknowledge the role of the Premier Daniel Andrews and the Minister for Equality, Martin Foley in advocating for rights of same-sex couples and we reiterate our full support. We look forward to working with LGBTI communities in the future to providing loving homes for some of Victoria’s most vulnerable children.

Media: Connections’ Acting CEO, Trish Chapman is available for comment. Contact Connections’ Acting Manager, Community Relations, Kirrilee Torney on 03 98792 8999 or media@unitingconnections.org.au  

 

Connections and MacKillop Family Services to launch an Australian-first in Out of Home Care

The Concurrent Care program accredits families as both Foster and Permanent Carers so they are able to care for a child for as much of their journey from temporary care to permanency as possible.

With the support of the Phyllis Connor Memorial Trust, Connections UnitingCare and MacKillop Family Services have partnered to develop an Australian-first in Out of Home Care for children under the age of three.

  • When: Thursday 14 May 
  • Time: 11:00am -12:00pm
  • Where: Prahran Mission, 211 Chapel Street, Prahran 3181
  • RSVP: Friday 7 May to Christine Luk rsvp@unitingconnections.org.au or 03 8792 8999

Refreshments provided.

 

11 Mar 2015

Loving homes needed for children with special needs

During National Adoption Awareness Week, Connections UnitingCare is appealing to the public to help provide loving and caring homes for young children with special needs through their Adoption and Permanent Care Program.

Launching the campaign, Connections Chief Executive Officer, Angela Forbes, said it was important that couples wanting to start their family realise that there are other options out there that exist beyond traditional methods.  

Ms Forbes said. ‘Many of the children we have awaiting placement face an uncertain future if we are unable to provide them a family that can love them, accept them and provide them with the security of a family environment.

‘All children need the stability and love of a permanent family to grow, and develop to their full potential. We are calling out to anybody who thinks they may have room in their lives to provide these special children with a home to make contact with us today.’

One couple who answered the call five years ago was Sue and Russell who are keen to share their experience throughout this campaign.

Just like so many others, the couple spent a number of years trying start their family naturally but following many failed attempts they made the decision to look into alternative ways. After finding out about Connections’ Adoption program, their lives were changed. 

‘When we were told we had been shortlisted for a child with special needs, my husband and I decided that we would go ahead with it because to us, it didn’t really matter what sort of issues she had, we’d try and do our best for her. And, well my husband’s exact words were, “I’m going to give her the best life that she could have,”’ said Sue.

‘We were given a report about what she may or may not have and what might eventuate but it didn’t matter to us because we knew that we wanted to start a family regardless and this was our opportunity to do so. The support that we got from Connections after we were placed with our daughter was just fantastic. If we ever had any issues or had a question our worker was there to help us. 

‘Our daughter is a happy and healthy child that just gives us and our extended family so much joy,’ Sue said. 

Sue and Russell, have recently been re-approved and placed on a waiting list for a second child through Adoption.

‘When I look at her, I sometimes think what her life would be like if she hadn’t been placed with us, if she was still where she was. And I think it would be a totally different life,’ Sue said.

‘Russell and I often say, it’s more what she has done for us, it’s not what we’ve done for her.’ 

Connections Adoption and Permanent Care Program facilitates the placement of children who have been relinquished by their parents or are involved with Child Protection.

Loving Homes Needed

Connections is appealing to the local community to help find a loving and devoted homes for young people with special needs through our Adoption and Permanent Care program.

Leading the appeal is Connections Chief Executive Officer, Angela Forbes who believes that many members of the local community are unaware of the need for adoptive and permanent care families, particularly for children with special needs.

'The children who are in our care are in need of loving homes. They all have their own unique stories and unfortunately for some of them, they may experience a disability, health issues or have had an unstable start to their lives. These children are craving the security and stability of a loving home that many of us take for granted,' said Ms Forbes.

The Stephens family who, through Connections Adoption and Permanent Care program now have two beautiful girls, with one having Down Syndrome, were like so many others unaware of the need for adoptive and permanent care families in Australia.

'We were first made aware of this as an option of starting our family at an inter-country adoption meeting that we were attending and now in reflection, we are so grateful we were given this information,' said Mrs Stephens.

'Although the process was at times daunting and sometimes stressful, the girls have fulfilled our lives in more ways than we could have imagined. We are so grateful and happy to have been placed with our two beautiful daughters.

'To know that we will be there to see the girls grow up and have a life that they may not have had is something that gives me such a sense of worth and it is my mission to make sure they are protected and loved for the rest of their lives,' continued Mrs Stephens.

Connections Adoption Program facilitates the placement of children who have been relinquished by their parents or are involved with Child Protection.

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