As a provider of Adoption and Permanent Care Services, we have followed this topic with great interest as it has been debated for many months. For a long period of time it has been our belief, Victoria’s Adoption Legislation was outdated and did not reflect the human rights of prospective lesbian, gay, bisexual, trans and intersex (LGBTI) applicants and it was pleasing to finally see the Victorian Parliament recognise this and make the necessary changes.
There are many healthy infants who require a loving home but for many years have been denied this access because the current Act excludes the LGBTI community. Interestingly, single applicants are also notably discriminated against in the Adoption Act, regardless of their sexual orientation, unless it’s a last resort for a child with special needs. This presents as a major contradiction as healthy infants cannot be placed with single applicants as the legislation excludes them, however some of our most vulnerable children with special circumstances can be placed with a single person. We are therefore implying that single people are discriminated against when it comes to adopting healthy children.
It is also our belief, all organisations delivering Adoption services must remember in the first instance, with whom a child is placed, remember in the first instace that the preference of the relinquishing parents in terms of who a child is placed should continue to be acknowledged as a right. These rights include the birth parent/s to choice of the characteristics of the family their child will reside with even if this means they may or may not be accepting of their child residing in a LGBTI family, or with a single person. These wishes must be respected if we are to have learned from our history of forced adoption.
It is our hope that with this amendment, the government will continue to work with adoption agencies across Victoria to promote a better understanding of LGBTI communities and the assessment of diverse applicants.
Once again, we would like to acknowledge the role of the Premier Daniel Andrews and the Minister for Equality, Martin Foley in advocating for rights of same-sex couples and we reiterate our full support. We look forward to working with LGBTI communities in the future to providing loving homes for some of Victoria’s most vulnerable children.
Media: Connections’ Acting CEO, Trish Chapman is available for comment. Contact Connections’ Acting Manager, Community Relations, Kirrilee Torney on 03 98792 8999 or firstname.lastname@example.org