Amendments part 1

You are here

The second major concern for the Secretary of Victoria’s Child Welfare Department was with adopting agencies’ accountability. In the early 1950’s he discovered that out of 1090 adoptions over the previous five years, 240 were overseen by reputable adoption agencies, 50 via the Department, and 800 cases had been arranged by unreliable agencies and under-qualified individuals. But it was not until 1966 that adoptions were finally brought under strict control.

There were several amendments after 1954 with the aim of confirming the suitability of adopting couples, and by 1964 the guardian ad litem position was entirely abolished and replaced by the Director-General of Family Welfare, the Principal Officer of a private Adoption Agency, or a Court appointed person. This change technically protected the child from the time of consent until the Court Adoption Order was made.

It was the private guardian ad litem opinion, the opinion of a friend of the family regarding suitability of a placement that had caused my problem in 1952. I was incompatible with the chosen family. By 1952 suitable legislation to rectify such problems had been proposed but a change in Victoria’s State government had delayed its introduction until 1954. Over the years, I came to know my guardian ad litem and she was certainly a mistake. The consequences of that legislative delay, and her comments, sadly lasted my lifetime. Justice delayed is justice denied.

 

The second major concern for the Secretary of Victoria’s Child Welfare Department was with adopting agencies’ accountability.