NSW Minister for Family and Community Services, Brad Hazzard, Barnardos CEO Deirdre Cheers and NSW Premier Mike Baird at the partnership announcement.

The University of Sydney will establish the Institute of Open Adoption 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 to enable lasting positive change around open adoption in NSW,” said the University of Sydney’s Chancellor Belinda Hutchinson AM.

“At the heart of the institute’s endeavours are 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.”

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.

“Open adoption is an important option for children who cannot live with their parents. Open adoption can provide a safe, stable and nurturing environment for vulnerable children and young people – it can be a safe home, for life.

“We need to reduce the barriers to increasing open adoptions.  I would like to thank the University of Sydney and Barnardos for their vision, which keeps with the NSW Government’s commitment to increase the safety and permanency for children in out-of-home-care,” said Minister for Family and Community Services Brad Hazzard.

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.

“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.