Adoption legislation and standards

Current Victorian legislation

The provision of adoption services is also affected by Commonwealth legislation.

The Adoption Amendment (Adoption by Same-Sex Couples) Act 2015 came into effect 1 September 2016.

It means lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and intersex (LGBTIQ+) couples can now apply to adopt in Victoria.

Adoption Regulations 2019

New Adoption Regulations were made 24 February 2019, following a review in late 2018.

The primary responsibility for the Adoption Act and Adoption Regulations is now with the Department of Justice and Community Safety. The review was undertaken by the Department of Health and Human Services before Adoption Services moved to the Department of Justice and Community Safety.

Details of the review can be found at in the Adoption regulations Regulatory Impact Statement.

Victorian Law Reform Commission Report

In December 2015 the Attorney-General asked the Commission to provide recommendations to government on the modernisation of the Adoption Act 1984 and the Adoption Regulations 2008.

Matters reviewed included:

  • ensuring children’s best interests and rights are the main considerations
  • eligibility to adopt and the application process
  • access to adoption information
  • birth certificates of adopted people.

The Commission was not asked to examine adoption laws and practices that existed before the Adoption Act 1984; nor to review the law regarding intercountry adoption programs, nor to consider adoptions by same-sex couples or contact statements.

The Commission’s final report was tabled in Parliament on 7 June 2017.