- Adoption process streamlined in WA
- More transparency in decision-making about adoption process
Adoption law in Western Australia has undergone major reform to include more transparency in the decision-making process and allow adoptions by relatives, with amendments to the Adoption Act 1994 passing through State Parliament today.
Child Protection Minister Robyn McSweeney said the changes would make adoption in WA a fairer and easier process.
“I am delighted these changes, made under the Adoption Amendment Bill, will allow relatives to adopt children, subject to the Department for Child Protection’s chief executive officer and then the Family Court being satisfied as to certain matters,” Mrs McSweeney said.
“There will also be increased independence and transparency in the adoption process, starting with changes to the membership of the Adoption Applications Committee, and there will be no age limit on the older prospective parent.”
The Adoption Applications Committee is responsible for decisions about whether applicants to adopt a child are suitable. The committee’s membership will now be required to be predominantly independent of the Department for Child Protection, including the chair of the committee. Unsuccessful applicants can now appeal to the State Administrative Tribunal.
Adoption by a relative will be reintroduced into WA. The Minister said this was a significant reform in support of children and relatives seeking the permanency of adoption.
“These amendments also support more options for children in foster care by removing common barriers to prospective adoptive parents who wish to foster a child while awaiting an adoption placement,” she said.
The adopted child will no longer have to be the youngest child in the adoptive family and nor will the family’s other children need to have been in the family for at least two years.
The eligibility and assessment criteria for prospective adoptive parents has also been updated so there is now no age limit on the older prospective adoptive parent. However the age difference for the youngest adoptive parent and the child remains 45 years.
Another major reform is that a female prospective adoptive parent will no longer have to prove she is not pregnant at the time of the adoptive child’s placement.
- Changes made to the Adoption Act 1994
- Changes include relative adoptions & increased independence of decision-making panel
- There were 37 children adopted in WA last year
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