The small number of children who require a family each year will have particular needs. The role of Adoption Victoria is to assist families develop the capacity to provide for these needs.

Eligibility

You do not need any special qualifications to be an adoptive parent. The experiences and skills of all families are welcome.

In Victoria you can apply if you are:

  • an adult and normally reside in Victoria
  • currently married or living in a de facto relationship for a minimum period of two years
  • a single person.

If you are single the Court may be limited in the circumstances in which it can grant an adoption order. You will be required to provide documentary evidence to the court.  

Marital status

Adoption is open to married or de facto couples living in Victoria, this includes same-sex and gender diverse couples.

Single people are eligible to adopt but the Court might need further documentary evidence to grant an adoption order.

Age limit

There is no age limit, but you should be fit and healthy enough to care for a child through to adulthood. This means that you need to be within the spread of ages at which most people become parents.

Fertility treatment 

If you have undertaken fertility treatment, you must have completed it at least six months before attending a training session.

Applying with other children in your care

We also need to consider any current or potential children in your care.

You must meet the following:

  • any existing children in your family are at least 12 months of age
  • the adopted child would be the youngest child in your family
  • you are not currently engaged in a surrogacy arrangement as an intended parent
  • you are not currently undergoing fertility treatment
  • you are not currently pregnant.

Costs

There are no fees. You will have to pay legal costs when you apply for the adoption order at the County Court.

How to apply to adopt

Step 1: Make contact

Contact Adoption Victoria:

Step 2: Attend an information session

Information sessions are the best place to get answers to your questions about adoption, and aim to help you decide if it could be right for you. The sessions will help you understand the adoption process.

To register your interest for an information session email enquire.adoptions@justice.vic.gov.au (External link)

Step 3: Register your interest

Register your interest with either Adoption Victoria or with one of the approved non-government adoption agencies.

Before you apply to Adoption Victoria contact us for further information and a questionnaire. You can register your interest by completing the Adoption Victoria questionnaire and sending to:

Before submitting your registration of interest please check you meet the Victorian requirements.

Once we receive your registration of interest, we will contact you to discuss the completed questionnaire.

Families who meet all eligibility requirements will be invited to complete a full application.

Step 4: Application

You will need to complete a detailed application, which involves:

  • police checks
  • medical checks
  • working-with-children check
  • references.

If you're in a de facto relationship, documentary evidence will also be required.

Step 5: Training sessions

You will be required to complete a training session before submitting a formal application. 

These sessions will help you understand the adoption process and prepare you for the challenges of bringing an adopted child into your family.

Step 6: Assessment

A case manager will meet with you to prepare an assessment report.

We assess your application against requirements outlined in the Adoption Act 1984, and take into consideration what we know about the particular needs of the child.

Assessment requirements may include:

  • home visits to speak with you, your children, other adult household members and your nominated referees
  • references and financial statements
  • physical and psychological health medical reports
  • criminal, family violence and child protection history checks.

Step 7: Approval

An assessment report is then prepared and you are given a copy of the report.

Approval is a formal process under the Adoption Act. As required by the Act the names of approved people are then placed on a register.

Dual approval to adopt and be a permanent carer

You can seek to be approved as a permanent carer first through any of the permanent care programs (External link) 

If you later apply to adopt we will seek your consent to access all information about any assessment and training you have undertaken to be approved as a permanent carer. Generally this will shorten the process for approving you to adopt. 

Support for families who have adopted a child

If you have adopted a child and need additional support, you should contact the adoption service that arranged the adoption.

If the adoption was arranged by the Department of Health and Human Services, you should contact Adoption Victoria:

Families may also seek support for Permanent Care Adoptive Families or the Intercountry Adoption Family Support Service.

Intercountry Adoption Family Support Service

The Intercountry Adoption Family Support Service (External link) is a free, independent, nation-wide service available to couples, families and individuals who are engaged in the intercountry adoption process. The service also provides post placement support to children and their families, including expatriate adoptions, as well as adult intercountry adoptees.

The service provides counselling support and case management services to assist with a range of issues and challenges unique to the intercountry adoption experience. Services are provided free of charge.

The service is funded by the Australian Government Department of Social Services and is delivered by LifeWorks in partnership with International Social Service Australia.

Contact the Intercountry Adoption Support Coordinator:

Find out more

Contact Adoption Victoria

enquire.adoptions@justice.vic.gov.au (External link)
(03) 8608 5700 or 1300 769 926 (local call cost)
1800 130 225 (national free call)

Adoption Information Services
Level 20, 570 Bourke Street
Melbourne, 3000
Victoria