Intercountry Adoption in Australia
- Patricia FronekPatricia FronekPatricia Fronek, BSocWk, PhD, is Senior Lecturer, School of Human Services and Social Work, Griffith University and Griffith Health Institute, Australia, and is a member of the Australian Association of Social Workers, the Australian College of Social Workers and is President of the Australian and New Zealand Social Work and Welfare Education and Research (ANZSWWER). She has been researching Australian intercountry adoption since the early 2000s and practised in the intercountry adoption field for seventeen years. Her work is disseminated at conferences, peer reviewed books and journals, and enjoys collaborative working relationships with esteemed academics in the field.
Australian research on intercountry adoption in Australia is reported with particular reference to social work, divergent and competing interests of various stakeholders, and the highly political and contested nature of its practice in Australia. The practice of intercountry adoption in Australia is examined from its diffusion into Australia in the 1970s to contemporary times. Government approved Australian intercountry adoption programs began operation in the 1970s and although always small in number, the recent decline is consistent with global trends. Intercountry adoption in Australia is regulated by state and federal governments and social workers are integral to its practice. Controversies surrounding intercountry adoption in Australia have historically been linked to pressure from lobbyists and the support of some politicians. In 2014, Australia was at a crucial juncture with changes to how intercountry adoption is structured under review by the federal government.