How to adopt a child in Australia
Learn about the adoption process if you want to adopt a child. Includes information for out-of-home care, local and intercountry adoption.
The adoption process
To give a child the best possible outcome, the process to become an adoptive parent is thorough and can be lengthy.
It involves an application and assessment to make sure that the person is capable of fulfilling the responsibilities of an adoptive parent.
The need for permanent carers and adoptive parents is greatest for children who are in out-of-home care.
Out-of-home care adoption
You can apply to become a proposed adoptive parent and have children placed with you who would benefit from open adoption rather than foster care.
Find out more about foster-to-adopt programs at My Forever Family NSW
Many children who are adopted in NSW are first cared for by foster carers, who intend to care for rather than adopt a child.
In these instances, a foster carer may be able to apply to adopt the child, if the child has lived with the foster carer for at least 2 consecutive years and returning to live with their family is not appropriate.
If you're a foster carer who is thinking about adopting the child in your care, contact your DCJ or non-government organisation (NGO) caseworker.
Local and special needs adoption
The Department of Communities and Justice (DCJ) works with parents who are considering open adoption for their child and families who want to adopt.
You can find out more about the local adoption process at Department of Communities and Justice
There are a number of accredited, non-government organisations (NGOs) that also provide open adoption services, including local and special needs adoption.
Each NGO has a different approach to open adoption including eligibility and assessment criteria as well as costs. Some of the organisations are faith-based while others are not.
It is important to research every organisation’s processes and understand whether it’s right for your situation.
Find a list of approved non-government adoption organisations at the Department of Communities and Justice.
The Department of Communities and Justice (DCJ) is the only organisation in NSW that arranges intercountry adoptions.
It is illegal for anyone to try to arrange intercountry adoptions privately.
Learn more about the intercountry adoption process at the Department of Communities and Justice.