Issues part 1

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As the 50’s came to a close there appeared to be seven emerging issues.

The guardian ad litem was only required to comment on the applicants’ ‘means and status …. so as to enable him to maintain and bring up the infant suitably’”. The Act did not require comment on other aspects of the adoptees’ suitability, and it is a sign of those times that only the male’s means and status were taken into account.

Around this time the State, wishing to diminish their liabilities, decide to clear as many State Wards as possible. This was done by dispensing with the consent of parents who did not make the required maintenance payments for their Ward children or make contact with them. Once the consent was dealt with, the child could be adopted out and the State had no further responsibility.

As well, the legislation didn’t provide recognition of adoption orders made interstate or overseas, and, according to The Survey of Child Care in Victoria (1964), ‘ … the interests of relinquishing mothers had largely been taken for granted’.

In the early 60’s, the Victorian Legislation Review Committee commented that,‘ … some of the Guardian appointments had led to poor placements and harmful effects on children; and the need for legal protection to which the various parties to an adoption are entitled.’

 

As the 50’s came to a close there appeared to be seven emerging issues.