The Department of Social Services is the Australian Central Authority for Intercountry Adoption

Each country that signs the Hague Convention is required to have a central authority to implement its standards. The Australian Government Department of Social Services (DSS) performs the duties of the Australian Central Authority under the Hague Convention. There is also a central authority for each state and territory. Responsibility for intercountry adoption is shared across these central authorities.

As the Australian Central Authority, DSS is responsible for:

  • enabling the performance of Australia's responsibilities under the Hague Convention
  • building strong relationships with overseas countries
  • providing national policy leadership on intercountry adoption practices.

State and Territory Central Authorities for Intercountry Adoption in Australia

Each state and territory government also undertake central authority responsibility for the adoption process, referred to as State and Territory Central Authorities, and are responsible for:

  • managing and assessing adoption applications
  • preparing families for, and supporting them through, the intercountry adoption process
  • providing advice and assistance to families regarding specific overseas country requirements
  • monitoring progress of individual applications with the relevant agency in the overseas country
  • providing support and supervision of families after the placement of adopted children.

The roles and responsibilities of the Australian Government and the State and Territory Central Authorities are set out in the Commonwealth-State Agreement for the Continued Operation of Australia’s Intercountry Adoption Program.

The Commonwealth, state and territory central authorities meet regularly to address issues affecting Australia’s intercountry adoption programs. The communiques for the latest meetings are available at Central Authorities Meeting Communiqué.

For more information, visit the Intercountry Adoption Australia website.

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