Sydney Star Observer 25 February 2009
Adoption and foster care agencies were split over whether same-sex couples make good parents at the first day of a NSW inquiry on Tuesday. Barnardos, the only secular agency in NSW, approved of foster children living with same-sex couples having the option to be adopted by them. Stability was in the best interest of the child, Barnardos CEO Louise Voigt said. “We often put sexually abused children with single women or women couples. One girl was sexually abused by her father, grandfather and other men and was terrified of men,” Voigt said. Eight percent of Barnardos foster carers were same-sex couples, she said, and many in the care of families would want to be adopted by them. “We select people for stability. Many heterosexuals won’t get through the process.”
The state’s two religiously-based child placement agencies, CentaCare and Anglicare, said they did not place foster children with same-sex couples because of their beliefs. Both agencies swore to utilise religious exemptions in anti-discrimination laws to escape any changes to eligibility criteria, as they currently do. Heterosexual marriage was the best model for parenting, the Catholic Archdiocese representative Christopher Meney told the hearing.