Adoption

Overview
Why do children need adoption?
The value of adoption?
Review of the domestic adoption process in the ACT
Learn more


For a number of reasons, there are children and young people in the ACT who are not able to live with their birth families. Adoption is the way to provide these children with new, permanent families to belong to.

There are also children who live in blended families, and for some of these families adoption is a way for step-parents to formalise their relationship with their step-children.

Adoption legally and permanently transfers all rights and responsibilities from a child’s birth (or legal) family to their adoptive family. In step-parent adoption this transfer only affects one of the birth parents and their family, not both.

There are different types of adoption depending on the circumstances of the child. These are:

  • Local adoption
  • Out of home care adoption
  • Step-parent adoption
  • Intercountry adoption.

In the ACT, Child and Youth Protection Services, within the Community Services Directorate, is responsible for providing adoption services in accordance with the Adoption Act 1993.

Why do children need adoption?

There are various reasons why some children can no longer be raised by their parents. It may be because of complex family or social backgrounds, mental or physical illness, neglect, abuse or because the parents are simply unable to be involved. Children needing adoption may also have medical or educational needs their parents cannot manage.

For whatever reason, their parents are unable to provide them with the care and support needed for these children to grow and become happy, healthy adults.

The value of adoption

Providing children with permanent, safe and caring families supports their emotional wellbeing and all dimensions of their development. It allows them to feel safe and secure, to belong and to have the opportunity to live a fulfilling and meaningful life.

For adoptive families it provides them the opportunity to bring a child into their lives, to love and care for as their own. Especially for families adopting foster children already in their care, adoption also gives them highly wanted autonomy as a family.

For birth parents, it provides them the opportunity to continue their lives while being assured their child is being properly cared for in a safe and stable environment.

Adoptions in the ACT are open. This means birth parents and their children can remain in contact after an adoption if it is in the best interests of the child.

The common factor in all adoptions is to consider the best interests of the child, and to put these interests first.

Review of the domestic adoption process in the ACT

In 2016, a review was conducted of the domestic adoption process in the ACT. Its purpose was to review current processes and identify opportunities to improve the timely and appropriate completion of the adoption process to achieve better outcomes for ACT families.
On 21 March 2017, the ACT Government agreed in full, or in principle, to all six recommendations made by the review and tasked relevant directorates to undertake work to implement them. Child and Youth Protection Services is committed to supporting the implementation of the review’s recommendations.

You can access the review’s report and the Government’s response at Final Report: Review of the Domestic Adoption Process in the ACT.

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