Key policy documents for prospective adoptive parents and approved applicants

Australia’s key policies and documents for prospective adoptive parents and approved applicants are available below.

For information on the intercountry adoption process, including eligibility criteria, immigration requirements and post-adoption support, visit the Intercountry Adoption Australia website.

Information on policies associated with child trafficking can be found at the Attorney General’s Department website.

Prospective adoptive parents

Intercountry relative adoptions national practice agreement

Relative adoption refers to the adoption of a child by the child’s relatives. The purpose of this document is to set out general principles that apply to intercountry relative child adoptions in Australia.

Intercountry known non-relative adoptions national practice agreement

Known child adoption refers to adoptions where the child is previously known to the prospective adoptive parents. This document explains the general principles and process that applies to these adoptions.

Intercountry adoption ad hoc requests

An ad hoc request is an individual request to adopt a child from a country with which Australia does not have an existing intercountry adoption programme. Ad hoc requests are considered by the relevant state or territory central authority on a case-by-case basis.

Ad hoc requests for intercountry adoption are generally not consistent with Australia’s management of intercountry adoption. Requests are only likely to be considered where there are exceptional circumstances. The following document explains the general principles and process that apply to these requests.

Subsequent sibling adoption

Subsequent sibling adoption occurs when a family adopts the known sibling/s of their adopted child or children. This differs from relative adoption and known child adoption.
The following document sets out the general principles that apply to subsequent sibling adoptions:

Approved applicants

Management of quotas and approval practices by the Australian central authorities

Some of Australia’s partner countries place limits on the number of applications that may be sent to the country.

The following document explains how the Australian central authorities manage the selection of approved applicants for inclusion in any quotas. It also explains the process where an applicant wishes to change their choice of country after being approved to adopt from a different country.

Interstate transfer guidelines for approved applicants

Prospective adoptive parents sometimes move interstate during the course of their adoption application. The approval of an interstate transfer is subject to the legislation and policy of the jurisdiction you move to. The following guidelines aim to ensure consistent procedures across states and territories and minimise the disruption to the families.

Sending gifts and care packages

Families often wish to send their child a gift to welcome them into their family or to help with their child’s care before taking custody of them. The Intercountry Adoption Harmonisation Working Group developed the policy below about families sending gifts and packages before they travel overseas to bring home their allocated child.

Pre-placement contact

The Hague Convention prohibits contact between prospective adoptive parents and a child’s biological parents or carer until all necessary consents to the adoption have been provided, unless there are specific circumstances. The following document sets out our policy on this issue.

Donations and financial contributions by prospective adoptive parents

The following document outlines the Australian central authorities’ views on financial contributions and donations in the context of intercountry adoption, and provides families with some best practice guidelines. Payments in the course of intercountry adoption must be appropriate, transparent, accountable and not for improper purposes.

Donations and contact by intercountry adoption support organisations

A number of Australian organisations provide:

  • financial and material donations to overseas orphanages or adoption authorities, and
  • support for individual children through child sponsorship programmes.

There are some risks that organisations need to consider to ensure that donations do not lead to improper financial gain, corruption or other negative impacts. The following document should be read in conjunction with the Pre-placement contact policy paper.

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