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What is adoption?

Adoption happens when the legal and social responsibility for a child is transferred to a family when that child cannot be cared for by their own birth family or by their extended family.

Adoption orders are made by the Supreme Court (or by the County Court if the applicant agrees to this). In practice, most adoption hearings take place in the County Court.

Children may also be cared for by others through court orders other than adoption, such as Permanent care orders or Parenting orders. Both of these kinds of orders are more common than adoptions in Victoria.

After an adoption order is made, the birth parents no longer have any legal rights over the child and the adopted child becomes a full member of the adopting family, although the order may include some ongoing contact between the child and the birth parents.

The child will generally be given the same surname and will have the same rights of inheritance as a child that had been born into that family. The child will also get a new birth certificate.

More information

Legislation

Adoption Act 1984 (Vic)

See Adoption Act 1984 (Vic).

Updated