Coalition pushes adoption over reunion

Pat Griffiths

The coalition will pitch permanent guardianship or adoption over "slavish" attempts at reunification, in a new bid to protect children in broken homes.

David Gillespie, the Assistant Minister for Children and Families, will meet ministerial colleagues from the states and territories to encourage a focus on permanency as a solution to increasing numbers of children in out-of-home care.

"Permanency planning - including adoption - has got to be at the front-end of decision-making, rather than as a last resort, because childhood is precious," Mr Gillespie said on Friday.

"I'm not reinventing the wheel, I'm just saying, 'apply the principles that are there'."

Adoption and its "attendant baggage" had led to impressions that it was a forced or closed-door process.

"Sort of like a black hole," Mr Gillespie told the ABC.

"We don't want to have that situation."

Mr Gillespie claimed the frameworks and policies to protect children were in place, but an over-emphasis on reunification, since the 1970s, risked bringing children back into broken homes.

The new focus would not require new legislation, Mr Gillespie claimed, and he had already been in touch with state and territory colleagues to make his case.

Mr Gillespie's portfolio is preparing its fourth action plan towards better outcomes for indigenous children, as well as improving permanency planning.

"You need to plan for permanent care so there's some enduring stability for the child," he said.

"I want to change the focus of how they apply those principles."