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Wednesday, 9 November 2011
Arrive from 11.30am, lunch 12 noon, speaker 12.30 concludes 1.30pm
Supporting the most vulnerable in our society
Deborra-Lee Furness is an internationally acclaimed actress as well as a passionate supporter of children and defender of their human rights across the globe.
Deborra-lee Furness is keen to explore ways in which politicians, media and policy makers can join together to make much needed changes to the way in which support and care is provided for the world’s most vulnerable citizens – children.
and effort is long overdue in the way in which we manage adoption and temporary
foster care. We need to be reminded of our commitment of more than twenty
years ago when we signed the conventions of the rights of the child, whereby we
stated that we would honor basic human rights that children everywhere have,
the right to survival, to develop to the fullest, to protection from harmful
influences, abuse and exploitation, and to participate fully in family,
cultural and social life. Every right spelled out in the convention is inherent to the human dignity and
harmonious development of every child. The convention protects children's
rights by setting standards in health care, education and legal, civil and
With such a complex and sensitive topic, it requires a commitment from the most influential to facilitate change and a meeting of minds to drive it forward. Australia is shamed by being one of the lowest-receiving countries in the world for inter-country adoption even though there are families willing and able to provide a loving home for a child.
Even with thousands of children needing a home, families in Australia have to wait an average of six years to adopt either locally or from overseas. In addition, there are 37,000 children in our foster care system and the number is increasing year on year.
The question has to be asked as to what we are doing to provide permanent care for those most in need?
There is no ongoing national research or statistics gathered about adoption in Australia and it is therefore impossible to gain a full understanding or picture of how these children are being let down and what can be done to help them. While the Hon Bronwyn Bishop went some way to identify the issues and make recommendations in the Overseas Adoption report in 2005, little has been done to address the findings.
As a forward-thinking, compassionate nation, Australia needs to step-up and lead the way in caring for all children and ensure that they are provided with a loving permanent home. Please join Deborra-lee in addressing these issues and working together to find solutions.
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