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November 21, 2019
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Australian Government to increase state care adoptions, excluding ‘Aboriginal’ children

CANBERRA, Australia: Aboriginal children excluded from a plan to boost child adoptions in state care in South Australia owing to cultural sensitivities around the Stolen Generation, the State Government said.

The South Australian Government has begun consulting on a plan to increase open adoption as the number of children in care, continue to soar.

Though legally available, children have not been adopted out of state care in the past five years.

Child Protection Systems Royal Commission was established in 2014 to investigate the child protection system in South Australia.

It was commissioned after the arrest of Shannon McCoole, former Families SA carer, who was convicted of heinous sexual offences against seven children in his care between January 2011 and June 2014.

The royal commission examined 10,800 documents and heard from 381 witnesses resulting in a list of recommendations for the government.

Royal Commissioner Margaret Nyland made 260 recommendations into child protection crisis in 2016, but fell short of recommending increased adoption.

Nyland, who was appointed in August 2014 to conduct the Child Protection Systems Royal Commission, insisted the government to increase the use of “Other Person Guardianship” orders to provide children with greater stability.

However, Child Protection Minister Rachel Sanderson said those orders were problematic as they expire when a child turns 18.

“We’re looking at giving people, children and kids, the opportunity to have a forever home,” she said, adding “that option would not be extended to Aboriginal children, who make up 30 per cent of the population of children in state care.”

The minister said, “I think most of the community is aware of the sensitivities around the Stolen Generation.”

“I spoke at a major Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander conference on Wednesday night, there were 1,200 people attending that conference, and they made it very clear as a community that this is not an option that they want to be considered for their children,” she explained.

Sanderson said long-term guardianship orders and separate Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander placement principles would apply instead.