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New institute will pursue research to guide policy on open adoptions

16 March 2016

NSW Premier Mike Baird has committed $2.85 million to the Institute of Open Adoption Studies at the University of Sydney in partnership with Barnardos Australia.

NSW Premier Mike Baird at the University of Sydney

NSW Premier Mike Baird visited the University of Sydney to announce the new Institute of Open Adoption Studies.

The University of Sydney will establish the Institute of Open Adoption Studies in partnership with Barnardos Australia through $2.85 million in state government funding, NSW Premier Mike Baird announced today.

“The institute holds the promise and responsibility of delivering research with the impact of enabling lasting positive change around open adoption in NSW,” said the University of Sydney’s Chancellor Belinda Hutchinson AM (BEc '76).

“At the heart of the institute’s endeavours is our society’s shared duty to provide greater numbers of children with a safe home for life.

“Through NSW Government funding, the institute has the challenge to pursue much-needed research into open adoption, and its impact on children, birth families, adoptive applicants, and those working in this essential field.”

NSW Premier Mike Baird said the new institute will be the gold standard in setting best practice for open adoptions in Australia.

“Already NSW has the highest numbers of children and young people adopted from care but we can do more, and the institute will help us with this goal,” said Premier Baird (BA '89).

The institute’s strategic priority is to provide an evidence base for open adoption, in support of the best interests of children in out-of-home care in NSW.

“Getting it right for children and young people who cannot live with their families is extremely challenging,” said NSW Minister for Family and Community Services Brad Hazzard (LLM '84).

“I am looking forward to the University of Sydney putting a focus on the best way forward for open adoption through the Institute of Open Adoption Studies.”

The NSW Government has committed $2.85 million to fund the institute for three years, at the University’s Faculty of Education and Social Work. The University and Barnardos were chosen as the successful tenderer for their strong proposal and articulate vision for the institute’s future.

A key goal of the institute will be the development of new knowledge through research and expertise to influence policy and practice, informing cultural change for the growth of open adoption in NSW. The institute will also:

  • Research children’s experiences of adoption
  • Become a trusted source of information for the sector
  • Bring together influencers in policy and practice to engage with and champion research outcomes.

“We would like to thank the NSW government for their foresight in supporting this landmark institute that will improve the outcomes for our most vulnerable children and give them the best chance of achieving the security and permanency they need and deserve,” said Barnardos Australia CEO Deirdre Cheers (BSocStud '80, MSW '06, M.P.Admin '11).

“As partners with the University of Sydney, we look forward to working in collaboration with other NGOs in the sector to ensure that the institute develops practice-based research that will ensure lasting positive change for children currently in the foster care system, and evidence to support policy and decision-making around open adoption.”

The institute will commence operations in 2016, with the Faculty of Education and Social Work to begin recruitment for its director shortly.