Review of the Adoption Act 1984: Report


Adoption order

An order made by the court which finalises the adoption of a child.

Adoption and permanent care teams

Teams within DHHS and approved agencies which carry out all aspects of the adoption process.

Approved agency

Non-government organisation approved by the Secretary to arrange adoptions under section 22 of the Adoption Act.


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 domestic 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 where a child’s natural parent, or parents, were compelled to relinquish a child for adoption. This included situations where no consent was given, alternatives to adoption were not explained, consent was given under duress, and where consent was revoked.1


A child under 12 months of age.

Integrated birth certificate

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

Intercountry adoption

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

Known-child adoptions

Adoption of a child who was born or permanently resides in Australia, has a pre-existing relationship with the adoptive parent(s) and is generally not able to be adopted by anyone other than the adoptive parent(s).

Local adoption

Adoption of a child who was born or permanently resides in Australia who has generally had no previous contact or relationship with the adoptive parent(s).

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 biological parents. Open adoption is mandated in the current Victorian Adoption Act.

Options counselling

Counselling which is provided to a person who is considering giving consent to adoption about the effects of adoption, exploring alternative care options and providing information about available support services. The term options counselling is not used by the Adoption Act.

Principal officer

Officer within an approved agency who has 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.

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