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Sponsored: Child welfare to be discussed at national conference

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During National Adoption Awareness Week this November 12-18th, one of the most important child welfare conversations of the year will take place in Sydney, at the Connections for Life National Permanency Conference.

In November 2016 Community Services Ministers from each state and territory committed to making permanency a national priority for Australia’s children. One year on, during National Adoption Awareness Week, the Connections for Life conference will bring together the child welfare sector to hear about progress in this area, as well as address issues surrounding impermanency and childhood trauma and best practices for permanency.

“Despite well intentioned efforts, Australia has been failing vulnerable children, and the problem has been growing steadily worse,” says Renee Carter, CEO of Adopt Change. “In Australia, we have almost 40,000 children living away from their birth family for over two years, unlikely to return home. Instead of having access to a permanent, loving home, these children are living in limbo (spending on average 12.5 years in the out of home care system), moving from foster home to foster home, or staying in residential group homes, or in worst cases, in a hotel with a case worker.”

With no secure foundation and limited opportunity to heal from their traumas, these children face a difficult road to adulthood. Homelessness, poor health and education outcomes, early parenthood and interactions with the justice system are common experiences for people who have grown up in the system.

The conference is a forum to hear from the state governments and territories, along with the federal government about their progress on their commitment to permanency, one year on. Updates on the states and territories actions, plans and progress will feature on day two of the conference (Friday 17 November).

There are also over 36 local and international speakers and panelists who will address issues ranging from early intervention and family preservation through to different types of permanency options, including adoption.

How does the government commitment turn into effective practice? How do we avoid repeating past mistakes? How do we constructively support parents to meet the needs of their children, and how do we provide permanency for those children who ultimately cannot live safely at home? The Connections for Life, National Permanency Conference will bring together politicians and policy makers, social welfare professionals, research and practice experts to focus on these questions. Speakers will address how to effectively meet the need for children to have permanent, loving and stable homes for life, and ways to support children to develop and maintain connections with family, culture and self.

With a strong emphasis on evidence-based practices, international speakers include Dr Sylvia Rowlands, who will talk about what has proven to be effective in prevention and in restoration, through to adoption and post-adoptive supports. Sir Martin Narey will discuss the English experience in addressing political and media antipathy towards adoption, and turning adoption numbers around. Sandrine Pepit will compare the two existing types of adoption in France – full adoption and simple adoption – from a legal point of view, highlighting another permanency option for Australia to consider.

“The conference is aimed at professionals and policy makers who are in the position of implementing positive changes to our systems and practices – ultimately resulting in positive outcomes for children” explains Ms Carter. “We are very proud of the program and judging by ticket registrations it is of great relevance to people in the sector”.

The National Permanency Conference will take place on 16 and 17 November in Sydney.

For more information and to register your attendance visit:

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Third Sector provides high-level content and services for professional development and organisational growth to leaders and senior executives from Australia’s NFP sector and its supporting industries.


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