Tabled in Parliament Date:
This inquiry is about adoption law reform. Although adoption rates in Victoria are low compared to former times, adoption law profoundly affects each person it touches. For an adopted child, the birth mother and the adopting parents the law can have lifelong consequences.
In December 2015, the Attorney-General asked the Commission to provide recommendations for adoption law reform, including modernising the Adoption Act 1984. Under the terms of reference, the Commission was asked to ensure the child’s best interests and rights while considering:
- Eligibility to adopt and the application process
- Access to adoption information
- Birth certificates of adopted people.
The Commission was not asked to examine adoption laws and practices that existed before the Adoption Act 1984; nor to review the law regarding inter-country adoption programs, nor to consider adoptions by same-sex couples or contact statements.
The Commission’s review of the current Act was completed in February and tabled in Parliament on 7 June 2017. The Commission made 88 recommendations to modernise the Act and ensure that the best interests of the child are the paramount consideration. The main recommendation was that Victoria needs a new Adoption Act.
- Adopted people should be able to get integrated birth certificates that have the names of their natural parents and their adoptive parents
- Adopted people should be able to obtain a copy of their original birth certificate
- There should be no restriction on single people being eligible to adopt
- Religious exemptions should not apply to adoption agencies that provide adoption services, and adoption agencies should not be able to refuse to provide services to LGBTI couples
- An independent children’s lawyer should be appointed for all children in the adoption process.
- It should be easier for adopted people over 18 to have an adoption order discharged by the court.
The Adoption report and other documents can be downloaded from the link below.
- Terms of reference received
- Submissions and consultations
- Submissions closed
- Final Report
- Tabled in parliament