Tuesday, 15 July 2008

Proposed QLD adoption laws too little too late

The State Opposition says talk of changes to Queensland's adoption laws is too little too late for many families.

The Government has released a discussion paper on whether to give children and birth parents involved in adoptions before 1991 more access to information about each other.

The Opposition's Jann Stuckey says the Government has been reviewing the arrangements for years without acting.

"I have been told countless stories of heartache and misery by people who simply want to know who they are and some personal history," Ms Stuckey said.

"The contact can still be refused, but it's a matter of having a right to know who you are."

Queensland Child Safety Minister Margaret Keech says possible changes to adoption laws would still protect the privacy of parents who do not want to be contacted.

Ms Keech says the Government is considering adopting the model used in Western Australia, to protect the privacy of birth mothers who do not want contact with their children.

"When a person was given information, identifying information, they had to sign a legally enforceable undertaking that they would not contact that person because that person may not want to have their lives be intruded on," she said.

Linda Bryant from adoption support group Origins says changing the law would help the healing process for adopted children and mothers who were forced to give their babies up.

"If they can just find out where their child is and how it's grown up and everything, that will be a way for them to move on and for the adoptees it's even a bigger issue because they can now find out who they are, get a birth certificate," she said.

No adoption rights for same-sex couples: Bligh

State Cabinet yesterday approved several changes, including allowing de facto couples in long-term relationships to adopt.

The Government has also released a discussion paper on whether to give children and 'birth parents' involved in pre-1991 adoptions more access to information about each other.

Ms Bligh says only about 20 babies are now put up for adoption each year in Queensland.

"In an environment when you have such a small number of babies and such a large number of couples seeking to adopt, the onus is on the state to make a judgement about the best possible placement for a child and the prospect of that being anything other than couples as I have described, we think is very low," she said.

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