News; Vital changes to foster laws being considered by NSW Parliament


The NSW Parliament is considering making some vital change to current foster laws. These changes are seeking to streamline decision-making about permanent placements for children who enter out-of-home care. For the children who enter out-of-home care, they have been removed from the care of their parents, and the average length of stay in out-of-home care for them is about 12 years – this can be almost the entire duration of their childhood.

The changes being considered aim to reduce this time to a maximum of two years, with the potential for children to return to their parents where possible. Where this is not possible, the aim would be an alternative legal arrangement of guardianship with a relative, or adoption by a foster carer. Long-term foster care would be the least preferred option.

“With the greater focus on achieving permanent homes, it is important that NSW policies and legislation consider the lessons from other jurisdictions that have made similar attempts. In the US, the Adoption and Safe Families Act has been criticised for its bias towards termination of parental rights and adoption over restoration, with inadequate timeframes and support services that do not allow birth parents to so their children can be returned to them.”

– Associate Professor Amy Conley Wright & Professor Judith Cashmore

The reforms would require appropriate funding for resourcing to strengthen and support families, as well as monitoring and research to check for unintended consequences and to ensure the reforms are for the benefit of the children they are meant to help.

The Wishing Well foundation

The Wishing Well was established in 2010 to offer children in out-of-home care, such as foster care and residential care, a range of healing and treatment options usually not accessible as a free therapy in mainstream health.

The Wishing Well raises funds to enable children and young people to access developmentally-appropriate and trauma-informed treatments shown to be highly effective in dealing with severe trauma and neglect. These therapies respond to the unique needs of each child and young person.

The Wishing Well is a not-for-profit incorporated charity organisation, established and managed by people seeking to improve outcomes for children and young people in out-of-home care and their families. The Wishing Well recognises the importance of the act of giving. We recognise the significance of the participation of community members and all donations are most appreciated.

The Wishing Well operates ethically, effectively and empathically with a view to achieving quality outcomes and a satisfying working environment.

Support the Wishing Well

The Wishing Well uses its funds to help children in need access all manners of developmentally-appropriate and trauma-informed treatments. The Wishing Well takes referrals for any child/young person in out-of-home care in NSW.  Applications are assessed by qualified personnel and on a case-by-case basis.  The decision to fund an application is affected by the following:

  • Funding availability
  • The support the child/young person has to access the proposed therapies
  • The capacity and willingness of the Carer Household to support the child/young person
  • Assessment, which recommends and supports the proposed therapy as relevant to meeting the particular needs of the child/young person

The Wishing Well gratefully receives donations, funding and resources through bequests, corporate partnerships, fundraising events, grants, online donations and other fund raising activities. Money donated to The Wishing Well enables traumatised children access to healing therapies. Please see our website for more information:


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