There were 317 adoptions finalised in Australia last financial year, the lowest number on record.
It’s a fall of 9% from the year before and 76% lower compared to 25 years ago.
On average it takes parents five years to navigate the overseas adoption process.
Today Prime Minister Tony Abbott said he will establish an Intercountry Adoption Support Service in April to help Australians work through what can be a long and frustrating process.
“The Commonwealth Government will make it simpler to adopt children from overseas,” he said in a statement.
“The new service will cut the waiting time while maintaining safeguards.
“For too long adoption has been in the too hard basket, for too long it has been too hard to adopt and for too long this has been a policy no-go zone. It shouldn’t be that way because adoption is all about giving children a better life.”
The service will include a dedicated help line and website as well as staff to advocate on behalf of prospective parents, dealing with state authorities and partner countries.
The government will also pursue intercountry adoption programs with the US, Poland and Vietnam. Abbott said there are also four other countries which could be added to the list.
States and territories will continue to assess the eligibility of people who want to adopt.
“This is all about helping the families who want a child, and the children who need a safe and loving family,” Abbott said.
“There are millions of children in overseas orphanages who would dearly love to have parents. There are thousands of Australians who would dearly love to help those kids have a family.”
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