Historic Torres Strait Island adoption bill in final stages
Community consultations for the Meriba Omasker Kaziw Kazipa Bill 2020 or Torres Strait Islander Traditional Child Rearing Practice Bill start this week, with community members encouraged to share their stories and experiences in how lack of legalised Island adoption has affected their lives.
The historic legislation would bring traditional Torres Strait Islander adoption practices into law and allow Torres Strait children to be adopted by a relative or community member for cultural benefit.
Without legalisation of adoption practices, Torres Strait children have been unable to access basic identification documents, including birth certificates, passports and driver’s licenses. Many have also experienced great distress around cultural and personal identity.
Torres Strait advocates have lobbied for the legalisation of adoption practices for over three generations and say their children and communities have been deeply affected as a result.