Review of the Adoption Act 1988 – Review Recommendations
During 2014-15, the South Australian Adoption Act 1988 and Adoption Regulations 2004 were reviewed by independent reviewer, Associate Professor Lorna Hallahan. The Review report is available here (PDF, 1.8MB) and makes the following key recommendations for consideration by Government.
The Act should incorporate a wider statement of Principles and Objectives about adoption being about the best interests of children to emphasise children’s rights.
The Adoption Act should change so that same-sex couples can apply to adopt a child.
Single people can already apply to adopt a child, but the Report recommends that the rules about single people being placed with a child only in special circumstances should be removed.
Adoption information vetoes
Adoption information vetoes prevent the release of identifying information to another party to the adoption. The Report recommends that adoption information vetoes be abolished and phased out over 5 years and that contact vetoes are not introduced.
If this recommendation is acted on, this would mean that people who previously had a veto in place cannot replace it after it expires. It would also mean that people who were previously unable to get their adoption information because of a veto, will be able to eventually get that information.
Adoption of adults
The Adoption Act does not currently provide for adult adoptions. The Review Report recommends that adoption of adults should be allowed. This would mean that adults may be adopted by people who brought them up for most of their childhood, like foster parents and step-parents.
Keeping a child’s original first name
The Report recommends that when a child is adopted, the court that makes the adoption order should ensure that the child’s original first name is kept except in exceptional circumstances.
The Report recommends that an adopted child’s birth certificate should provide the truest possible account of the biological parentage of the child.
If this recommendation is acted on, it would mean that in most cases an adopted child’s birth registration details will include both their birth parents and their adoptive parents. Any certificates issued would ensure that it is clear that the adoptive parents are the legal parents of the child.
Discharge of adoption orders
The Report recommends that a law is introduced to enable a Court to discharge (undo) an adoption order in certain circumstances, such as where the adopted person has been abused in their adoptive family.
Some people may be concerned or distressed by these recommended changes.
If you need additional support and information about this, please contact the following services:
Adoption Team – Families SA
Phone: (08) 8463 3666
Post Adoption Support Services – Relationships Australia SA (RASA)
Phone: (08) 8245 8100
After hours, you can contact Lifeline’s 24-hour telephone counselling service on 131 114.
The Review Report
For queries relating to the review contact:
Adoption Act Review Office
Phone: (08) 8226 6840