SummaryRead the full fact sheet
- Adoption can give a secure family life to children who, for various reasons, can’t live with their birth family.
- Today, 'open' adoption means that the birth parent or parents are encouraged to have contact with the child, as well as the opportunity to exchange information.
- The number of children placed for adoption each year is small.
- The most important consideration in any adoption is the best interests of the child.
About past adoption
Adoption legislation was first introduced in Victoria in 1928. During the 1950s and 1960s, adoptions were usually arranged by non-government welfare organisations. At the time it was assumed that the best thing for the adopted child was to have a ‘clean break’ from the natural mother.
During this period, adoptions were 'closed'. This meant that adopted people could not access information about their natural parents.
Additionally, many past adoptions did not meet the standards of that time. Babies were sometimes taken from their mothers without informed consent.
The background of the adopted child was usually kept secret. Now we know that this information is vital to a person’s sense of identity. The Victorian adoption laws reflect this change and support the opportunity for ongoing information sharing and direct contact between adopted children and their birth families.
About adoption today
Today, 'open' adoption means that the birth parent or parents are encouraged to have contact with the child, as well as the opportunity to exchange information.
The number of children placed for adoption each year is small. Adoption can give a secure family life to children who, for various reasons, can’t live with their birth family. The most important consideration in any adoption is the best interests of the child.
People affected by past adoption
Many people affected by adoption find it beneficial to seek the records that were created at the time of the adoption. They may also want to find out how to locate family from whom they were separated by the adoption.
Parents considering placing a child for adoption
For a range of reasons, a parent may consider placing their child for adoption. Some parents have made a clear decision about adoption. Others may need more information before they are confident to decide.
People wanting to adopt
There are 3 types of adoption that occur:
- local adoption
- overseas adoption
- known child adoption.
All children who require adoption are likely to have additional needs, including:
- the need for contact with natural family
- identity issues
- adopted children being more likely to have a disability or significant health issue than other children.
These issues may have had an influence on a birth parents’ decision to place a child for adoption.
When a child placed for adoption has a disability or significant health issue, the case manager will support the family to access appropriate support services. If a child being placed for adoption is Victorian and has a disability or significant health issue, the service may be able to further support the family with a carer payment.
Where to get help
For people affected by past adoption:
For parents considering placing a child for adoption:
For people wanting to adopt: