In Victoria, one of the most common situations where adoption orders are sought are local adoptions (legalisations). All local adoptions must be arranged through Adoption Victoria or an approved agency; it is an A criminal act prohibited by state or commonwealth criminal law. An offence is either a summary offence (minor) or an indictable offence (serious). not to do so (see ‘Adoption offences’, below.)
On 1 July 2019, the provision of local and inter-country adoption services in Victoria was transferred from the Victorian Government Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) to the Department of Justice and Community Safety (DJCS). Local adoption services are now provided by Adoption Victoria (which sits within the DJCS).
An ‘approved agency’ is a welfare organisation that has been approved by the Secretary of the DHHS (under div 2 pt II Adoption A written law made by parliament. Also called an ‘Act of parliament’, ‘statute’ or legislation.) to provide adoption services.
Currently, the approved agencies are:
- Anglicare Victoria;
- Children and Family Services Ballarat;
- Uniting Victoria Tasmania.
For the contact details of the approved agencies operating in Victoria, see ‘Contacts’ at the end of this chapter.
Role of Adoption Victoria and agencies in local adoptions
Adoption Victoria and the approved agencies facilitate all aspects of the adoption process. This includes:
- assisting children admitted to the guardianship of Adoption Victoria or the principal of an approved agency;
- counselling parents who are considering relinquishing their child for adoption;
- consenting to adoptions;
- providing information and guidance to prospective adoptive parents;
- assessing applicants to determine whether they are ‘fit and proper persons’ to adopt;
- supervising adoption placements;
- organising access arrangements and the exchange of information.