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Establish a national adoption law: report

When Aedan Brittain was seven years old, he returned from primary school to his foster care home to find his possessions packed into garbage bags and stacked by the front door.

He was unceremoniously told by his foster carer that a case worker would soon be taking him to a new home.

That was just one of 70 occasions that Mr Brittain was required to move to new homes in Melbourne before he turned 18, as his birth parents - who loved him - lacked the skills and support to care for him.

"I was tumbled from house to house, carer to carer," he said.

"Each felt like a lifetime due to the sub-standard care that was provided."

The most positive placement for the now-25-year-old was his longest - a four-year stint that began when he was eight.

"Until that point, all I'd known was the cycle of chaos and disadvantage that I'd grown up in," he said.

"I believe this opportunity for stability, consistency, and a family who wouldn't give up on me, played a key part in me being able to develop resilience and understand that there's another side to life."

According to a new report from a parliamentary committee, more children would be able to experience such stability if Australia took a national approach to adoption.

The social policy and legal affairs committee has recommended the federal government work with the states and territories to enact a national adoption law, after committing to a national adoption framework.

That would make the current state-based system less complex and more consistent and lead to more adoptions, committee chair Julia Banks says.

There are currently than 47,000 children living in out-of-home care, while Australia has one of the lowest adoption rates in the world.

Only 312 children were adopted in 2017.

Ms Banks said that figure would have been closer to 5000 if Australia had a less fragmented system, like that in the United Kingdom.

"The system, as we currently have it in Australia, is trapping many of these children into an unhealthy cycle," the Liberal MP said while launching the report in Canberra on Monday.

"Nothing is more important than providing children with safe, secure and nurturing homes."

The committee has also recommended the use of "integrated birth certificates", which name both a child's birth and adoptive parents.

It has also called for "open adoption", which involves children being encouraged to stay connected with their birth parents, with the support of a caseworker and their adoptive parents.

Adopt Change chief executive Renee Carter said the report is another step towards prioritising permanent living arrangements for children who aren't able to stay with their birth parents.

"No child in Australia should bounce around the system," she said.

Different arrangements will be appropriate for different children, Ms Carter noted, including guardianship with family members, permanent care orders and adoption.

© AAP 2018