Adoption in the ACT: what you need to know

by Peter Magee on November 15, 2011

Peter MageeHave you considered adopting a child or a young person? Have you wanted to know about the adoption process in the ACT? Hopefully this blog will provide you with useful information about the ACT adoption process.

Essentially, adoption is the process in which a child stops being part of one family and in a legal sense they become a permanent member of a new family. It is important to note that there is a residency requirement that must be satisfied by a person who is seeking to adopt a child or a young person in the ACT. A person who seeks to adopt a child or a young person in the ACT must live in the ACT and the ACT must be their normal place of residence. An adoption order may be made for a person who:

  • was under 18 years old on the day the adoption application was filed in the court; and
  • is present in the ACT.

An adoption order may also be made for a person who was 18 years old or older on the day the adoption application was filed in court provided that they:

  • have been brought up, maintained and educated by the person who is seeking to adopt them; and
  • are present in the ACT.

The ACT Adoptions Unit is the body that has responsibility for providing services in the ACT regarding the adoption process, for example, they conduct information sessions. There is an adoption application process that people considering an application for adoption in the ACT must follow. It is important to note that there are a number of procedural eligibility requirements that people who are considering becoming adoptive parents must satisfy. For example, applications for an adoption by a prospective parent are only accepted after the prospective parent has attended an introductory interview with an adoption social worker and also after they have attended an education seminar on adoption and the process of adoption in the ACT.

When a child is offered for adoption, all adoptive parents are considered. Ultimately, the child is placed with the family that upon consideration of their situation and circumstances, is considered to be the family that will best meet the needs of the child and will also meet any specific requirements of the birth parents.

If you are considering adoption, there is no guarantee if you apply to adopt a child that your application will actually be successful. If you do in fact decide to apply to adopt a child, you might have to wait some time before your application is approved.

In considering whether or not to make the adoption order, the court will assess whether the adoption is in best interests of the child or young person. The court may make an adoption order even if the child or a young person has previously been adopted, either in the ACT or elsewhere.

A parent may change their mind and withdraw their consent to the adoption provided they comply with the procedural requirements and withdraw their consent within 28 days of consenting to the adoption.
For legal advice on adoption and the process, call us on 02 6288 1100 to speak to a qualified ACT lawyer with expertise in this area of law.

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