Adoption in the ACT

Adoption is the process by which a child ceases to be a member of one family and becomes, legally and permanently, a member of a new family.

Within the ACT, the Child and Youth Protection Services (as a part of the Community Services Directorate) is responsible for all adoptions both locally and from overseas. Its functions are determined by the ACT Adoption Act 1993.

Adoption as a permanency solution is currently being enhanced under the A Step Up for Our Kids – One Step Can Make a  Lifetime of Difference five year strategy. As such the Child and Youth Protection Services is reviewing and improving the information it publishes and promotes on the Community Services Directorate website. In the interim the links below will provide you with some basic information about adoption in the ACT. For more comprehensive information you are encouraged to contact the Child and Youth Protection Services North on:
phone: 6207 1069
email: adoptions@act.gov.au

For information about local adoption see:
Local adoption pamphlet [HTML] [PDF 383KB]

For information about Intercountry adoptions see:
Intercountry adoption pamphlet [HTML] [PDF 413KB]

For information about stepchildren and adoption see:
Stepchildren and adoption pamphlet [HTML] [PDF 423KB]

For information about adoption and post order support services see:
Adoption information and post order support services pamphlet [HTML] [PDF 392KB]

For information about considering a plan of adoption see:
Considering a plan of adoption pamphlet [HTML] [PDF 386KB]

For Information of carers who are considering the adoption of a child or young person currently in their care:
About adoption for carers In the ACT [HTML] [PDF 415KB]

Information for anyone touched by adoption:
Search and Reunion [PDF 795KB]

Overseas Adoption

The Adoption and Permanent Care Unit has a number of specific functions in relation to Australia's obligations for international adoptions under the Hague Convention External Link

The Australian Government Attorney-General's Department, as the Australian Central Authority under the Hague Convention on Inter-country Adoption, is responsible for ensuring that Australia, as a whole, meets its obligations under the Convention.

A primary recommendation of the Overseas Adoption in Australia Report External Link was that the Commonwealth, through the Attorney-General’s Department, take on primary responsibility for the establishment and management of Australia’s intercountry adoption program.

The Attorney-General’s Department has now taken on responsibility for Australia’s existing intercountry adoption programs and works closely with the ACT.

Information about Overseas adoption can be found on the Attorney-General’s website External Link

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National Apology to People Affected by Past Forced Adoptions

On 21 March 2013, the Prime Minister, Julia Gillard , will deliver a national apology, on behalf of the Australian Government, to people affected by forced adoption or removal policies and practices.

For more information www.ag.gov.au/About/ForcedAdoptionsApology/Pages/default.aspxExternal Link

Apology to People Affected by Past Forced Adoption Practices

The ACT Chief Minister Katy Gallagher presented a formal apology to people who have been affected by past forced adoption practices in Australia from the late 1940s through to the 1980s on the 14th August 2012 at the ACT Legislative Assembly in Canberra.

Past Forced Adoption Practices Apology [PDF 42KB] [Word 34KB]

The Legislative Assembly hopes to have the Hansard available by early evening on the Hansard site External Link.


The following documents provide information and contact details of organisations that may assist people.

For information and support contact the Family Information Service in the Community Services Directorate on 6207 1335.

For counselling support contact Relationships Australia on 1300 364 277.

For free and confidential 24 hour telephone counselling for people under stress or in crisis, contact Lifeline on 13 11 14

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