Shire Matters with Mark Speakman | A bold step forward for adopted people

Katherine Zonta, an adoptee, with Mark Speakman at the announcement outside Parliament House on August 5. Picture: supplied
Katherine Zonta, an adoptee, with Mark Speakman at the announcement outside Parliament House on August 5. Picture: supplied

NSW is a national leader in providing secure and permanent homes for our vulnerable kids.

In 2019-20 alone, a record-breaking 162 children were adopted from out-of-home care.

In the very sad cases where it's unsafe for families to stay together, NSW is committed to providing permanency for children through guardianship and 'open adoption'.

Since 2010, all adoptions in NSW have been open. This means that adoptive and birth families know about each other, exchange information and, wherever possible, build relationships. Adopted people can then stay connected to their background and their cultural heritage. And most importantly, we know that openness and transparency is in the best interest of adopted children.

This week we're taking another step forward - away from the secrecy associated with the adoption practices of the past.

Last month I introduced reforms to the NSW Parliament that would allow adopted people to have the choice of using a new form of birth certificate that better recognises their history. The new 'integrated birth certificates' (or 'IBCs' for short) will include information about an adopted person's parents and siblings at birth, as well as their parents and siblings after they've been adopted.

This week the Parliament gets its say. If Parliament supports the Government's Bill, newly adopted people will be issued with both an IBC along with the existing post adoptive birth certificate, at no extra cost to the individual. Both certificates will be legal documents and either can be used when opening a bank account, or getting a driver's licence, or in any situation where a birth certificate is needed.

If you're adopted and interested in getting an IBC, I encourage you to contact the Registry of Births, Deaths and Marriages to find out how you can apply.