When a child’s biological parents are not able to, or don’t want to look after a child, they can give all the rights and responsibility of that child to other parents; this is called adoption. The child that is adopted will have the same rights as if they were a biological child of the new parents.

If you were adopted you may be able to access your original birth record and other details about your adoption once you turn 18. This depends on when and where you were born. If you are under 18 you need the consent of your adoptive parents and the biological parents.

Differences between states

Northern Territory

If you are adopted and want support and information, contact the Department of Children and Families (DCF) Adoptions Unit on 08 8922 7460. You can also contact the DCF Adoptions Unit if you want information about adopting a child.

The Northern Territory Government website about adoption has information for people who:

  • are considering adoption for your child,
  • are considering adopting a child from the Northern Territory (NT) or overseas,
  • are considering adopting your spouses’ child, known as step adoption, and
  • want to find out about a previous adoption in the NT.

If you are considering placing your child for adoption you should seek legal advice from the Central Australian Women’s Legal Service on 1800 684 055.

Depending on where you live, alternatively you could contact the Katherine Women’s Information and Legal Service on 08 8972 1712 or 1800 620 108; or the Top End Women’s Legal Service on 08 8982 3000 or 1800 234 441.


The Department of Community Services has information about adoption, including for people considering putting their child up for adoption, people considering adopting a child, adopted children seeking information about their birth parents, and birth parents seeking information about an adopted child.

Western Australia

The Western Australian Department of Communities Child Protection and Family Support website has information about adoption in Western Australia, including relating to adopting a child, and finding information about your birth parents.

The Adoption and Research Counselling Service Inc (ARCS) has helpful information on their website.


The Department of Family and Community Services website has information for people considering adopting a child, as well as information about finding out about past adoptions for both birth parents and adopted children.


If you want information on adoption in Victoria you can contact the Department of Human Services.

Vanish is a support service providing assistance to people affected by adoption and donor conception.

South Australia

The Department of Child Protection is responsible for adoptions in South Australia, and can provide information about:

  • adopting an overseas child,
  • adopting a local child,
  • adopting an adult,
  • adopting a step-child,
  • placing a child for adopting,
  • applying for information,
  • discharge of adopting order, and
  • integrated birth certificates.


The Adoptions and Permanency Services provides services to a variety of Tasmanians including:

  • those who are considering placing their child for adoption,
  • those who wish to adopt or care permanently for a child,
  • those subject to past adoptions, and
  • those who were once in state care.

Births, Death Marriages has information for people seeking information relating to past adoptions, including children who have been adopted and birth parents of adopted children.

Relationships Australia offers a Past Adoption Support Service, including counselling sessions specifically for individuals and families affected by Forced Adoption Practices.  You can contact Relationships Australia on 1300 364 277. They have offices in both Hobart and Launceston.


The Queensland Government website has information about adoption in Queensland including:

  • adopting a child,
  • considering adoption options for your child,
  • adoption support services, and
  • post-adoption information.

Adoption Services can be contacted on (07) 3097 5100 or 1800 647 983
(free call within Queensland) or by email at

A Home for Every Child website also has helpful information about adoption and permanent care in Queensland.

The State Library of Queensland holds resources to assist people seeking to find out information regarding adoption. For more information contact the State Library of Queensland on 07 3840 7666.