Media releases

Media releases and statements by Rachel Stephen-Smith

Dispensing with parental consent in the adoption process – consultation report released

November 11, 2019

The ACT Labor Government continues to move forward in its commitment to improving outcomes for children and young people in out-of-home care with the release of the Report on consultation outcomes on dispensing with consent provisions.

Today, Minister Stephen-Smith announced the release of the Report on Consultation Outcomes, which outlines feedback from the first stage of consultation on dispensing with parental consent provisions in the Adoption Act 1993.

In late 2018, community members and organisations were invited to make submissions to the discussion paper Consultation on dispensing with consent provisions in the Adoption Act 1993, which explored possible legislative, policy and practice changes to dispensing with consent provisions.

The discussion paper followed a recommendation of the Domestic Adoption Taskforce, to explore dispensation of consent provisions to allow the ACT to better respond to the complex circumstances of children and young people in out of home care.

More than 40 submissions were received from adoptees, birth parents, foster and kinship carers and community organisations.

Minister for Children, Youth and Families Rachel Stephen-Smith said the feedback has informed the next stage of consultation and will assist in identifying possible changes to existing legislation.

“I wish to thank the many individuals and organisations who provided submissions and contributed to this important work. Feedback we have received to date will help us to better understand and respond to the complexity of permanency options for children and young people both in out of home care and those who for a range of reasons cannot live with their birth family.

“We heard clearly from these submissions that the best interests of the child and young person should be at the centre of every decision. Feedback also highlighted the need to support the child or young person to participate in decision-making about their lives.

“The ACT Government’s position remains that adoption is not considered appropriate for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children and young people in the ACT.

“I am committed to ensuring that children and young people in care can feel secure in permanent, loving and stable arrangements. This consultation will assist the Government to place the best interests of children and young people at the centre of decisions about permanency options.”

The Report on Consultation Outcomes can be found at: