Working in this area or interested in the research
In May 2018 FISH made a submission to the Australian Parliament’s inquiry into local adoption and out of home care. We argued that the child protection system should never be a source of children – or a way of making children available. We argued that the system needs to refocus on relationships, children and family inclusion and remember that we need to commit ourselves to children’s rights – not the needs and wants of adults. We have recommended that forced adoption be put aside in favour of a focus on permanency and stability – based on research and learning from our history.
In December 2017 FISH made a submission to the NSW Department of Family and Community Services (FACS) in response to their shaping a better child protection system discussion paper. Among other things FACS wanted to make it even easier to forcibly adopt children, to legally sever family relationships – without child or parental consent. With very few exceptions FISH opposed all of the proposed changes to the law which would have seen more children subject to permanent removal and the use of unjust legal remedies which were not focused on children’s needs. As of June 2018 NSW FACS has not communicated the outcomes of their consultation.
FISH made a submission to the New South Wales Legislative Council Inquiry into Child Protection In July 2016. We told the inquiry that children and families experience exclusion and marginalisation and that family inclusion is needed to bring about fewer child removals, more safe restorations home and better outcomes for all children.
FISH made a submission to the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses into Child Abuse in April 2016. We believe that family inclusion can help prevent child sexual abuse in care. We argued that child protection and out of home care organisations need to include families if they are to be safe places for children and the Royal Commission agreed with us.
Family and Community Services NSW undertook a consultation into therapeutic out of home care – or how better to look after children in care, especially children and young people in residential care or with high needs. FISH wrote a submission to this consultation in July 2017. We told FACS that children and young people need their families to be more involved in their care.
“No voice no opinion, nothing” FISH parent leaders provide advice and support to researchers from the University of Newcastle and non government organisation, Life Without Barriers, to research the experiences of parents who have children in care. This research report highlighted how hard parents work to continue to care for and parent their kids in care. The research report was launched on February 21st, 2017 in Newcastle.
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