Victoria needs a new Adoption Act

07 Jun 2017

Victoria needs a new Adoption Act that puts the best interests of the adopted child first, according to a report by the Victorian Law Reform Commission tabled in Parliament today.

The report, Review of the Adoption Act 1984, makes recommendations to modernise the law of adoption in Victoria and ensure that it is consistent with other laws. The main recommendation is that the current Adoption Act should be repealed and replaced.

Among the key recommendations of the report:

  • Adopted people should be able to get integrated birth certificates that show the names, not just of their adoptive parents, but of their natural parents and adoptive parents.
  • The same eligibility criteria should apply to single people applying to adopt as to couples.
  • An independent children’s lawyer should be appointed for every child in the adoption process.
  • Every adoption should have a court-approved adoption plan with details about contact arrangements, information exchange and other aspects of the adoption.
  • It should be easier for children and relatives to obtain information, and a new ‘access to information’ scheme should provide this.
  • There should be more consistency across Victoria and between agencies in the treatment of applicants for adoption.
  • Religious exemptions under the Equal Opportunity Act should not apply to publicly-funded adoption agencies.
  • There should be a statewide register of approved applicants to adopt a child.
  • People involved in adoptions should have access to more support through their lives, such as counselling, mediation and financial grants.

The Commission has not made recommendations about whether the number of adoptions should change in Victoria. The report is about making the adoption law and regulations function better, and ensuring that the best interests of the child are paramount.

Quote attributable to the Hon. Philip Cummins AM, Chair of the Victorian Law Reform Commission:

“The Commission’s recommendations are based on broad consultations across Victoria with people affected by adoption. The Commission heard that past adoption practices caused significant trauma. Our recommendations will help to ensure that adoption is voluntary, consent is freely given and informed, and the best interests of the child are paramount.”

Read the report at the Victorian Law Reform Commission website: www.lawreform.vic.gov.au.

 

 

For more information or an interview with the Hon. Philip Cummins AM please contact:
Nick Gadd, Communications Manager, Tel: 03 8608 7824 Mob: 0425 862 119.

Date published: 
07 Jun 2017

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