Roles and responsibilities for intercountry adoption in Australia

Department of Social Services (DSS)

DSS is responsible for:

  • managing and reviewing Australia’s intercountry adoption programs 
  • establishing any new overseas adoption programs
  • leading national policy on intercountry adoption
  • international and national stakeholder engagement
  • operating the Intercountry Adoption Australia helpline, and
  • in consultation with state and territory governments, providing support services for people undergoing (or who have undergone) an intercountry adoption.

Intercountry Adoption Australia

Intercountry Adoption Australia is an Australian Government service, providing information and referrals for anyone involved in the intercountry adoption process. It is a central point of contact for people at all stages of the intercountry adoption process (as well as an information source on other forms of overseas adoption).

It includes a website and free telephone information line.

For more information about how to adopt, intercountry adoption programs and post-adoption support, visit the Intercountry Adoption Australia website.

Intercountry Adoption Family Support Service

The Australian Government funds the Intercountry Adoption Family Support Service. It is delivered by Lifeworks in partnership with International Social Service Australia.

The Service offers counselling, information and support services to assist with a range of issues and challenges faced by families and adoptees who are, or have undertaken, an intercountry adoption. Services are provided free of charge.

For more information visit:

Central Authorities for Intercountry Adoption in Australia

Each country that signs the Hague Convention on the Protection of Children and Co-operation in Respect to Intercountry Adoption (the Hague Convention) is required to have a central authority to implement its standards. The Attorney-General’s Department is the Australian Central Authority for intercountry adoption under the Hague Convention.

Each state and territory government also undertake central authority responsibility for the adoption process, including the assessment and approval of individual intercountry adoption applications and managing the adoption process.

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

For more information, visit:

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:

Last updated: