Shadow Minister for Families and Child Protection Rachel Sanderson is calling for a community conversation regarding the pros and cons of making adoption in South Australia easier.
With National Adoption Awareness Week underway Ms Sanderson will today attend a Connecting Foster Carers meeting where she will raise the issue of adoption rates.
“Adoption is a taboo subject for many people in our community but looking at the mess that has engulfed South Australia’s child protection system it’s a conversation we need to have,” Ms Sanderson said.
“The Weatherill Government is desperately trying to recruit more foster carers to provide safe and loving homes for the increasing number of children being removed from their parents.
“Should being a foster carer be a pathway to adoption there would be a substantial increase in the number of South Australians prepared to become foster carers.
“The present circumstances that sees children removed from their foster carers with little or no notice after years of loving care makes many people wary of making the emotional and financial commitment to becoming a foster carer.
“Without increasing the number of foster carers the use of emergency care will continue to escalate.
“The cost of emergency care for vulnerable children has more than doubled in the past two years – jumping from $37 million in 2013-14 to $82.9 million in 2015-16.
“More children than ever are being housed in hotels, motels and caravan parks with carers on rotating 8 hour shifts and they are staying in these totally inappropriate forms of accommodation for longer than ever.
“Emergency care or residential care should be the very last resort for a child at risk of neglect or abuse not a standard option.
“These figures indicate we need to look at alternative forms of care including adoption.