Adoption in Victoria

Baby Girl

Baby GirlAdoption in Victoria is the legal process by which a child becomes a member of a new family. Making the decision to give up a child is never easy. But sometimes situations arise where birth parents feel it is impossible to raise their child. In these situations they voluntarily relinquish all their legal rights and responsibilities in relation to their child, and an adoption order is made by the County Court of Victoria. Adoption arrangements in Victoria can only be made by the Department of Human Services or an approved adoption agency.

When an adoption order is made, the birth parents no longer have any legal rights over the child. The adopted child becomes a full member of the new family, taking their surname and assuming the same rights and privileges as a birth child, including the right of inheritance. A new birth certificate is issued.

The order may include ongoing contact with the child’s birth parents and other relatives. Children’s lives do not suddenly come into being when they’re adopted. They have a past, which cannot be forgotten and which should be acknowledged. Their beginnings are a precious part of who they are and must be accepted, nurtured and valued by their new family. Older children, such as children with special needs or stepchildren, may also be adopted.

Adoption is not the only way of bringing a child into your family. Permanent Care is another. Both options provide children with the care and love they need to grow and prosper.

Since adoption legislation was first introduced in 1928, around 64,000 Victorians have been adopted. The number of adoptions has decreased since the 1970s. This is largely due to the increase in social acceptance of single parent families and de facto relationships. Government benefits for single parents and improved access to contraception and abortion are also important reasons for this trend.

The types of children placed for adoption

In the 1950s and 1960s, there were more infants available for adoption than there were adoptive parents. Children older than six months were difficult to place. This situation has changed over the years. The types of children placed for adoption in Victoria today include:

  • Children residing in Victoria who have special needs are managed by the Permanent Care program
  • Enquiries about adopting children from other countries are managed by the Intercountry Adoption program

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