The Victorian Law Reform Commission is currently reviewing the Adoption Act 1984 and the Adoption Regulations 2008 with a view to reporting by 28 February 2017.
In September, the ACL provided a submission to the Commission, arguing that considerations about consistency with contemporary attitudes and law are secondary and that the best interests of the child must be paramount. This is the standard for any legislation that relates to children and is consistent with international law.
The VLRC discussion paper raised the question whether eligibility to adopt should be extended to single people beyond that which is already available to single people under ‘special circumstances’.
Most single parents are caring for their children admirably, countless children are raised in alternative family structures, including single parent households, and such children are not precluded from living fulfilling and happy lives. Yet these positive outcomes for many individuals do not change the fact that whilst a single parent can be a good parent, no matter how great a single parent mother may be, she is not a father, and no matter how great a single parent father is, he is not a mother. Men and women provide unique, complementary roles, both of which are important in the development of children.
In today’s context, where there are many willing adoptive couples, the lack of a sound evidential basis on which to change the legislation means that eligibility of adoption for single persons should not be extended outside the existing ‘special circumstances’.
A number of other issues were explored in the submission.