Whilst Britain continues to try, not terribly successfully, to modernise its child welfare system, we continue to look to countries like Australia, who are always ahead of the curve in this field.

Australian Stewardships Not Adoption Awareness Support Group (ASNAASG) is a project which hopes to revolutionise adoption so that it is truly child centered by moving away from the concept of permanency in care, to long term solutions and forms of stewardship which are truly tailored to each child. It is thought that the members of this Group are in the main adults who have experienced adoption as children themselves.

An explanatory piece on their Facebook Page describes in more detail how this new model for care regimes would work and why the old model, used by Britain and Australia, is not fit for purpose – and it makes for inspiring reading.

And below, is their proposal:

ALTERNATIVES TO ADOPTION: as a child protection measure

“We believe that in the best interest of the child, adoption should not be used as a child protection measure and that it should not be an avenue of supply for infertile couples and others looking to adopt. Instead of the proposed increases to adoption, a ‘child-first’ model should be developed that does not legally remove a child’s identity, heritage and bloodline, and does not legally sever the child from its brothers…, sisters, grandparents and extended family in the name of care.

We agree that some children can’t be raised with their parents for many reasons and that they might feel positive about the experiences they’ve had in the care of others – even in some cases building relationships with these people that are ongoing, strong and positive.

But severing ties and creating a false birth certificate isn’t a necessary part of that. It doesn’t logically follow that to protect and care for a child their identity must be changed or invented.

Basing care of a child on changing the child’s identity and denying a previous existence and origins (whether known or not) is not a sound basis for child protection and child development.

Definitely, there will always be a need to remove children from unfit parents. No contest. But changing the child’s birth certificate (adoption) is not about what the child needs at all.

“In adoption, child protection becomes disturbingly about those who ‘need’ a child”

We support a properly resourced child-first model:

* One that does not bounce the child around from foster home to foster home.

* One that does not separate siblings or discontinue support to the person when they turn 18 years of age.

* One that brings the child up in a safe, stable, long term home with a life-long support family.

* A model that does not try to influence a child to reject their own identity and history, but supports the child to be a part of it and its own family where appropriate set out by a court of law. and the guardian’s family .

* One that has comprehensive checks and balances – overseen and set out by a court of law.

We support the abolition of adoption (as if born to) as a child protection measure in favour of:

  1. Family Preservation (or reunification) first, or, if not possible,

2 A Kinship care model. Guardianship to relatives or close family friends should be the prefered out of home care option

  1. A child-first model as a last resort; stranger care and support in a long term, through to a lifetime, safe, secure, stable, support family under a Guardianship Order by the court.

Unlike adoption, this child-first model of care and protection treats the rights and care of the child as paramount.

What do you think? Does this model offer positive, progressive solutions to children who find themselves separated from their biological parents or could you add to this proposal?

A very big thank you to the National Child Protection Alliance for sharing this development with us.