Annual adoption data

Counselling provided to parents considering placing a child for adoption

Parents who are considering placing a child for adoption are provided with counselling. Some continue onto placing a child for adoption, but some do not.

Learn more about considering adoption for a child.

Parent decision following counselling, by financial year
Placed for adoption861317
Not placed for adoption42322119

Families who are included on the Register of People Approved to Adopt

Children placed for adoption are matched to families who have been approved and entered into the Register of People Approved to Adopt.

Learn more about adopting a child.

Number of families registered to adopt a child, by year
Local adoption only474743
Local or intercountry adoption181612

Placements of children

Most children that are adopted will live with their adoptive parent/s for approximately a year before the adoption order is made. This is known as ‘placement’.

The exceptions are:

  • when someone is adopted by a relative or stepparent, or
  • if the adoption order is made by a court in another country.

Number of placements from local and overseas adoptions, by financial year
Local adoption861317
Total overseas adoption2063
Total placed1061920

The placement of children from Victoria

Age of children when placed, by financial year
Less than 1 year of age751217
Between 1 and 3 years old1110
Between 3 and 5 years old0000
More than 5 years of age0000

Number of Aboriginal children placed, by financial year
Aboriginal children placed with an Aboriginal family0000
Aboriginal children placed with a non-Aboriginal family0000
Total number of Aboriginal children placed0000

Number of children with at least one natural parent born overseas, by financial year
Children with at least one natural parent born overseas3255

The placement of children from overseas

Over the past 5 years, children from the following countries have been placed in Victoria:

  • Hong Kong
  • Thailand
  • Colombia
  • South Korea
  • Taiwan.

Learn more about overseas country programs

When a child due to be adopted from Hong Kong or Thailand enters Australia, their adoption is yet to be finalised. When the child is from Colombia, South Korea or Taiwan, an adoption order has already been made in that country's court.

The table below shows the number of children that have entered Australia each year from each country.

Number of placements of children from overseas, by financial year
Hong Kong1001
Total - adoption orders made in Victoria1001
South Korea1021
Total - adoption orders made in country1062

Adoption orders made in Victoria by year

An adoption order can be made by the County Court or the Supreme Court.

View the number of adoptions registered with Births Deaths and Marriages (BDM) each year

There are more registered adoptions than reflected in the table below as registered adoptions also include adult adoptions.

Number of adoption orders made in Victoria, by financial year
Stepparent adoption0002
Victorian relative0011
Local adoptions1681414
Adoption orders made in Victoria (Thailand, Hong Kong)1011
Overseas relative adoption orders made in Victoria1000
Total adoptions1781618

Adoption orders made in an overseas court

In addition to the adoption orders made by Victorian courts, some adoption orders are made by the court in the country from which the child was adopted.

Find out more about the process of overseas adoption

Number of adoption orders made in an overseas court, by financial year
Children adopted through the Colombia, South Korea or Taiwan programs and adopted in country1023
Overseas relative adoption orders made overseas0001
Total adoptions1024

Local adoptions by year the court order was made

As of 1 October 2022, Victoria no longer has approved adoption agencies that can arrange adoptions independently from government. This makes Victoria consistent with most states and territories.

Number of local adoptions by year the court order was made, by financial year
Arranged by government12286
Arranged by an adoption agency4668

Children are placed for adoption when their natural parent provides free and informed consent. If a child needs a permanent safe and supportive family environment and has come through child protection services, this is called ‘permanent care’, not adoption.

Find out more about permanent care

However, sometimes a parent cannot provide consent for different reasons.

Number of adoptions by natural parent consent and financial year
Consent from both parents4466
Consent from one parent12488
Both consents dispensed with or not required0000

Number of adoptions where natural parents could not provide consent, by financial year
Reason that consent could not be provided2022-232021-222020-212019-20
Mother could not be found0000
The court dispensed with the mother's consent0000
Father not known10478
Father could not be found1000
Father who was not on the birth certificate, did not respond to letter0000
The court dispensed with the father's consent1010

Family contact after an adoption order

When a court makes an adoption order, the order may include:

  • information on what contact the child will have with their natural family, and
  • a plan detailing how the child will about receive information from their natural family.
Number of adoption orders that include family contact provisions, by financial year
Type of contact2022-232021-222020-212019-20
Contact only0000
Information exchange only3210
Contact and information exchange1051213
No contact or information exchange3111

Other court orders

Discharge of adoption

The County and Supreme Courts also hear other applications related to adoption. A person may apply to the County Court of Victoria to undo the legal effect of an adoption order. This is known as ‘discharge of adoption'.

Learn more about discharge of adoption.

Number of adoptions discharged, by financial year
Discharge of adoption5653

Applications for adoption records

The Victorian Adoption Act 1984 provides eligible applicants the right to find information about an adoption that is connected to Victoria. Generally, people will be able to apply to adoption services for records.

Find out more about applying for adoption records.

If someone is not eligible to apply or they are not satisfied with the information provided, they may apply to the County and Supreme Courts to provide the information.

Number of applications for adoption information through Country and Supreme Courts, by financial year
Adoption information4763

People who received adoption information

Adopted people, natural parents and the children of adopted people are able to apply for information that identifies the adopted person and natural parents.

Find out more about who can apply for adoption records.

Other people such as adoptive parents, aunties, uncles, grandparents and siblings can apply for some information. This information is unlikely to identify any person not already known.

Number of people who have received adoption information, by financial year
Adopted people244245209305
Natural mothers59193335
Natural fathers2365
Adoptive parents32311
Children of adoptees42748359
Natural relatives32487799