Contentious new child safety laws will see adoption becoming a more common option for abused and neglected children.
Contentious new child safety laws will see adoption becoming a more common option for abused and neglected children.

Mason-inspired laws will see more at-risk children adopted

MORE abused and neglected children will be adopted out to new families by the Child Safety Department despite overwhelming objections from child advocates.

A parliamentary committee probing the contentious new laws drawn up by the Palaszczuk Government have recommended they pass, despite noting "a significant majority" of people who came forward to the inquiry opposed them.

The change - which was a recommendation out of tragic toddler Mason Jett Lee's coronial inquest - comes amid intense community debate over the state's youth crime crisis and the influence of the child protection system.

Neglect victim Mason Lee.
Neglect victim Mason Lee.

It's expected to grow the numbers of children adopted out amid revelations just six children from the child protection system have been adopted in the past five years.

The laws will force departmental staff to consider adoption as the third option when deciding the future of children in care after two years.

The option should be seriously considered if the child cannot be reunited with his or her parents or found a home with relatives or friends, the legislation says.

The committee's report noted advocates argued adoption may have "lifelong, adverse impacts" on children, including an increased incidence of suicide, entrenchment in the criminal justice system, homelessness, substance abuse and mental health issues.

Child Safety Minister Di Farmer is seen during a press conference at parliament House in Brisbane on June 2, 2020 after the Coroner's Court handed down the finding in their inquiry into the death of 22-months old toddler Mason Jet Lee.
Child Safety Minister Di Farmer is seen during a press conference at parliament House in Brisbane on June 2, 2020 after the Coroner's Court handed down the finding in their inquiry into the death of 22-months old toddler Mason Jet Lee.

They don't want the government to sever children's family ties, and worry new families won't have the specialist support needed to care for traumatised children.

Others argued there were already ways to achieve permanency without the need to sever a child's connection to their birth family.

The legislation will differ for indigenous and non-indigenous children after concerns were raised over the continuing harmful effects of the Stolen Generation.

For an indigenous child, adoption will be the last option considered, with long-term departmental guardianship favoured instead.

However, they still can be adopted out if there is no better, available option.

Originally published as Mason-inspired laws will see more at-risk children adopted


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