POLITICS

Labor Hits Out At Plans To Overhaul Adoptions For At-Risk Kids

The NSW Government wants to get tougher on failing parents.

17/12/2016 8:02 AM AEDT | Updated 17/12/2016 8:33 AM AEDT
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There could be a big jump in children up for adoption if a potential government revamp goes ahead.

Labor has criticised a reported Baird Government plan radically to overhaul NSW's adoption system in a bid to keep at-risk children out of abusive homes.

Under the plan, revealed by NewsCorp Australia on Saturday, the government would give struggling parents two years to prove they're fit to look after their children before they're put up for adoption.

The move, based on reforms in the US, would likely result in a surge of children available for adoption, with NewsCorp estimating the number at up to 20,000.

Family and Community Services spokeswoman Tanya Mihalek responded to the report by saying Labor wanted to encourage adoption, but that children should be dealt with on a case-by-case basis.

"The number is veering away from stated policy ... towards imposing what seems to be an arbitrary two year deadline on parents to either shape up or the child gets shipped out," she told Macquarie Radio on Saturday.

Family and Community Services Minister Brad Hazzard is reported as saying the revamp represents a chance to turn around the lives of thousands of children.

He is said to believe the number of children staying in group homes until the age of 18 is far too high, while there are too few adoptions taking place. NewsCorp reports that in NSW there were only 53 adoptions in the past six months.

Under the mooted reforms, non-government organisations with outcome-based contracts for providing out-of-home care would be forced to find children a permanent home within two years.

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