Adoption plan flawed

20 Jan 2009 3:23 PMJann Stuckey

Labor’s plans to increase adoption of abused children was a “quick-fix” solution to mask its systemic failure to properly fund early intervention and family support programs, the State Opposition said today.

LNP child safety spokeswoman Jann Stuckey said the Bligh government and Minister Keech could not explain why less than $30 million of the near-$600 million spent last year investigating child abuse and removing children from their families was spent on early intervention and support programs.

“The adoption plan is Minister Keech’s latest attempt to cut costs in her Department,” Ms Stuckey said.

“It’s another dangerous social experiment, one that disregards the views of experts in the field, and one that will impact on already at-risk children.

Ms Stuckey said a total re-focus of government policy to provide proper early intervention and family support programs was long overdue.

“This Beattie-Bligh government has sat on the adoption review since 2002. In all that time they have failed to heed the advice of key industry experts to invest more into family preservation programs.

“Last year the Bligh government spent $580 million removing children and investigating abuse, when, according to its own figures, only one twentieth of that amount was spent on early intervention and prevention.”

Ms Stuckey said of added concern was the fact that more indigenous children than ever were now in care, with the government appearing hell-bent on repeating past mistakes of removing children from their families en masse.

Ms Stuckey said decisions to remove children permanently from their families had to remain with independent courts and not left to departmental child safety panels.

“Decisions of this magnitude are best left with the courts with input from independent professionals,” Ms Stuckey said.

Media contact: Jann Stuckey 0439 755 919

20 January 2009