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Adopting an Aboriginal child

Information about the special requirements when considering the adoption of an Indigenous child.

  • The law changed on 6 May 2024
  • This content will be updated as soon as is possible

In the interim please consult the Federal Circuit and Family Court of Australia website or the Victoria Legal Aid Website.

There are special provisions in the Adoption Act 1984 to ensure that children of Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander descent are (if possible) adopted into the aboriginal community that the parent who is consenting to the adoption belongs.

If adoption within the child's community is impossible, an adoption order may be made on the condition that one or both parents, relatives and others from that aboriginal community, have a continued right of access to the child. Conditions will be specified in the adoption order.

See s 59—Adoption Act 1984 (Vic).

More information

Legislation

Adoption Act 1984 (Vic)

  • s. 4—defines an Aborigine as someone who is of Aboriginal descent or who identifies as an Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander and who is accepted as such by an Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander community
  • s. 37—consent to adoption may be made subject to the condition that the parent is able to have continued access with the child or that members of that child's aboriginal community may continue to have access
  • s. 50—Adoption of an Aboriginal child
  • s. 59—certain adoption orders made subject to condition of access by the Aboriginal community
  • s. 70(3)—an officer of the court shall organise for a memorandum to be sent to the Registrar giving the name of the Aboriginal agency if there is one
  • s. 114—registrar to give notices about Aboriginal children when the child reaches 12 years.

See Adoption Act 1984 (Vic).

Adoption Regulations 2019 (Vic)

  • r. 7(2)(h)—application for approval as a fit and proper person requires an applicant to have an appreciation of the importance and commitment to maintaining and developing the child's Aboriginal identity and their connection with members of the Aboriginal community to which the child belongs
  • r. 19(2)(ii) and (2)(d)—counsellor must tell a person who is thinking about consenting to adoption about the specific procedures in relation to giving consent to agree to the adoption of an Aboriginal child, including maintaining connection with their Aboriginal community
  • r. 22—right of access to a child, person seeking access must first attend a conference with a representative from an Aboriginal agency
  • Form 4 schedule 9—additional statements relating to the wishes and conditions of a parent about the adoption of an Aboriginal child within the Aboriginal community
  • Schedule 15—notice to parent of an Aboriginal child of inability to place a child under parent's condition
  • Schedule 1—Form 5—consent to adoption (includes provision for birth parent to request their child be raised within the Aboriginal community)
  • Schedule 1, Form 11—notice to parent of aboriginal child of inability to find a person or persons suitable to adopt that child
  • Schedule 1, Form 12—notice varying a condition of consent t adoption of an aboriginal child
  • Schedule 1, Form 17—memorandum of an adoption order, includes name of the Aboriginal agency concerned in the arrangements for adoption

See Adoption Regulations 2019 (Vic).

Updated