Review of the Adoption Act 1984: Consultation Paper


Adoption information

A register maintained by the Family Information Networks and Discovery (FIND) service within DHHS as part of its role in helping people access information about past adoptions. An adopted person, other parties to an adoption and certain other people can ask the Secretary to enter their name and address on the Register, as well as their wishes in relation to disclosure of information and contact.

Adoption information

Services within DHHS and approved agencies that handle applications for information by people with rights to adoption information.

Adoption order

An order made by the court which finalises an adoption.

Approved agency

A non-government organisation approved by the Secretary

to arrange adoptions under section 22 of the Adoption Act.

There are currently four approved agencies: Anglicare/St Lukes Anglicare, CatholicCare, Child & Family Services Ballarat and Connections UnitingCare.


The Victorian Registry of Births, Deaths and Marriages.


A person under 18 years of age.

Closed adoption

A form of adoption in which no information is shared between adoptive and birth families. Closed adoption is no longer practised in Victoria.


The Department of Health and Human Services (Victoria).

Domestic partner

A person in a domestic relationship or registered relationship.

Domestic relationship

A relationship between two people who are not married or in

a registered relationship who are living together as a couple

on a genuine basis (irrespective of sex or gender).

Forced adoption

The term used to describe an adoption that occurred without effective consent of the child’s birth parent or parents due to duress or coercion.


A child under 12 months of age.

Information provisions

Provisions in Part VI of the Adoption Act which give certain people access to adoption information.

Integrated birth certificate

A birth certificate which records both the birth and adoptive parents of an adopted person.

Inter-country adoption

Adoptions involving children from countries other than Australia who are legally placed for adoption under the Hague Convention on Protection of Children and Cooperation in Respect of Intercountry Adoption or under separate agreements between Australia and other countries.

Known-child adoptions

Adoptions by people who have a pre-existing relationship with the child, such as step-parents or relatives of the child.

Open adoption

A form of adoption that facilitates or allows information sharing or contact between the adoptive and birth parents, and may involve contact between the child and birth parents. The 1984 Act introduced open adoptions.

Principal officer

Officers within approved agencies who have powers and responsibilities under the Adoption Act and Adoption Regulations.

Registered relationship

A domestic relationship registered under the Relationships Act 2008 (Vic).


The Secretary of the Department of Health and Human Services.

Special needs adoption

The adoption of children who are over the age of 12 months, and/or have complex needs, such as children with a disability

or children who have experienced abuse or neglect.

Stolen Generations

A name commonly given to the generations of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children who were removed from their families by compulsion, duress or undue influence.