The Adoption (Review) Amendment Bill 2016 has been introduced to amend the Adoption Act. At this stage, the Bill has not been passed and no laws have changed.
The changes will only come about if both Houses of the South Australian Parliament have agreed on them and after the Governor of South Australia has proclaimed that the Bill is to become law on a specified date in the future.
See the Adoption Bill 2016 FAQ for further information about the amendments that respond to the key recommendation from the review of the Adoptions Act.
Key recommendations of the Adoptions Act review are as follows:
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.
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.
To talk to someone about getting support for how these changes might affect you, you can contact:
Families SA adoption services unit (government)
Email: adoptions [at] sa.gov.au
Phone: 8463 3666
Post Adoption Support Services (non-government)
Email: passinfo [at] rasa.org.au
Phone: 8245 8100
Policy staff are available to help you with your queries about the recommendations this Bill is proposing to put into law and where the process is up to in the South Australian Parliament.
Adoption Act Review Office
Phone: (08) 8226 6840
Email: DECDFamiliesAdoptionReview [at] sa.gov.au