Parents and adoptees that were adopted prior to 1991 in Queensland will no longer have the shadow of penalties looming over them as they seek to search and reunite with their biological families.
The Queensland Government passed the Adoption and Other Legislation Amendment Bill 2016 last week, removing the unnecessary penalties.
President of Jigsaw Queensland Post-Adoption Resource Centre, Dr Trevor Jordan said the organisation was pleased that the offences and penalties for breaching a contact statement for adoptions prior to 1991 had been removed.
“We’ve always believed that people affected by past adoption need a helping hand, rather than a heavy hand to ensure that the needs of all parties are met,” Dr Jordan said.
“The amendments will also improve access to information about birth fathers and also for grandparents and grandchildren to access the information about birth relatives.
“Many of the people we support have been asking for these changes for some time now.”
The amendments also allow for same-sex couples, single people and couples undergoing fertility treatment to be able to adopt a child in Queensland.
“We recognise that these amendments are consistent with contemporary community standards; nevertheless, it is important for everyone to manage their expectations,” Dr Jordan said.
“No floodgates will be opening. The numbers of adoptable children in Queensland will remain low and there are many very good reasons for this.
“As a community, we support families better than we did in the past and there are now other permanency arrangements for children to experience the benefits of a life-long family commitment without severing their ties completely from their family of origin.”
Dr Jordan said Jigsaw Qld expected to receive an increase in enquiries as news of the amendments travelled.
“There will be many people who have not been able to find out information or contact their families in the past who may now have renewed hope.
“Help is only a 1800 number away. Contact us now and we can support you through the changes and assist you on your adoption journey.”
Contact Jigsaw Queensland (Post Adoption Resource Centre) on (07) 3358 6666. Their Forced Adoption Support Services is a free call in Queensland on 1800 21 03 13.
Media contact: Dr Jo-Ann Sparrow – 0438 309 096