Foster carers perspectives on open adoption:


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To foster or adopt – what would influence your decision?

Recent changes to the NSW Children and Young Persons (Care and Protection) Act 1998 (the Care Act) have simplified the process for foster carers who wish to adopt children in their care. While the process may be easier, there are a number of considerations that foster carers need to weigh up if they decide to go down this path.

The Institute of Open Adoptions Studies\ is interested in hearing from foster carers, about what may influence their decision to transition from fostering to adopting a child or children in their care.

A research team for the institute will be conducting focus groups in various parts of NSW in the coming four months. The aim of this research is to ensure that the views and concerns of foster carers are clearly understood and taken into account in foster care and open adoption practices.

Why is the study being conducted?

In late 2014 the Care Act was amended to emphasise the importance of permanency for children for whom there is no realistic chance of restoration to their birth family or kinship care.

The amended legislation:

  • introduced specified time frames for decisions about returning children to their parents

  • emphasised the importance of permanency for children

  • streamlined the process for authorised carers to adopt a child or young person in out-of-home care.

This particular study is interested in exploring your understanding, as a foster carer, of the legislative changes and the barriers and enablers in considering transitioning from fostering to open adoption.

Why is this important?

  • Further research is needed to better understand the support needs of children in care and their families.

  • The focus group study is an opportunity to engage directly with caregivers in NSW and learn more about their perspectives on open adoption.

If you are a foster carer in NSW, you may be sent information about these focus groups via your foster-care support agency. We ask you to look at this information and consider whether you would like to attend. Because we know that foster carers live busy lives and have many demands on their time, the team will endeavour to hold the focus group at a convenient location and time. We will also offer child minding so you can attend.

This research has been approved by The University of Sydney’s Human Research Ethics Committee and is subject to strict privacy and confidentiality requirements.

If you would like more information about this research or the Institute of Open Adoption Studies, go to or send an email to