A CONSENSUS appears to be building inside the Child Protection Inquiry that Queensland kids born into seriously dysfunctional families should be put up for adoption.
Professor Clare Tilbury, a senior lecturer in the School of Human Services and Social Work at Griffith University, is the second professional to give qualified support to the proposal, which is already official public policy in several western countries.
Professor Tilbury agreed there was evidence that an early adoption allowed children to form an attachment to a responsible adult – a critical process for healthy emotional development.
But taking children off incompetent parents should not be the first option, she said.
“I think the consensus (among professionals) is that it should be an option, but it should not be the preferred option.”
Professor Tilbury also warned adoption could simply be seen by the state as a way of saving money.
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“I think it would be fair to say one of the reasons for adoption for law makers is they see it as a more cost effective option than long term care,” she told the inquiry.
The prospect of “parendectomy” – denying parents rights over their own child – has been raised several times in the $6 million probe due to make formal recommendations to the Newman Government by April.
Legislation allowing officials to take children off incompetent parents and giving them up for adoption is already in place in Canada, England and the United States.
The process in some countries varies from traditional adoption in that the natural parents may still play a role in the child’s life.
Corelle Davies, Brisbane-based Child Safety director, Queensland Health, said last week the idea of “stably placing and potentially adopting out younger children” appeared to be the most compassionate way of treating babies of teenage youths with no hope of being responsible parents.
Commissioner Tim Carmody has repeatedly made comments on forced adoptions during the inquiry, which has been taking evidence for more than two weeks.
“I think the consensus in the US is you either fix the families quickly or find new ones,” Mr Carmody said this morning.
Ian Hanger, representing the Crown, said in some countries dysfunctional parents were given a window of opportunity to prove themselves.
“In England they give you two years to get your act together,” he said.
Mr Hanger who cross examined Professor Tilbury this morning asked if she accepted there were some dysfunctional Queensland families who were never going to change their ways.
“Yes, absolutely,” Professor Tilbury replied.
But Professor Tilbury said it was also “arguable” that if more and better targetted funding was provided families might more rapidly improve after the first or second notification of trouble.
“It is equally arguable that you are working with hopeless parents,” Mr Hanger said.
“I would not characterise the parents as hopeless,” Professor Tilbury replied.
The inquiry continues.
A matéria descreve a discussão em curso em Queensland, Austrália, sobre a tempestividade com que o Estado deve atuar para, se necessário, retirar definitivamente a criança de sua família natural, disponibilizando-a para adoção.
A matéria revela que não há consenso em torno do assunto e pontua que a adoção não deveria ser a primeira alternativa frente a algumas dificuldades da família. Os críticos destacam que muito pouco tem sido feito a fim de oferecer suporte a famílias mais vulneráveis.
Se, por um lado, afirma-se que uma das motivações do governo seria a de oferecer melhores condições de desenvolvimento à criança, cogita-se por que não estruturar, antes, programas de apoio às famílias que dele necessitassem.