Adoption is legally regulated in Victoria. The primary objective of adoption is to provide a safe, loving family for a child who cannot be cared for by their birth family. Another permanent arrangement for the care of a non-biological child is a permanent care order made by the Children’s Court.


Ben Sayer

Partner, Sayer Jones

Local adoptions

Last updated

1 July 2020

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 offence not to do so (see ‘Adoption offences’, below.)

Adoption Victoria

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). 

Approved agencies

An ‘approved agency’ is a welfare organisation that has been approved by the Secretary of the DHHS (under div 2 pt II Adoption Act) to provide adoption services. 

Currently, the approved agencies are:

  • Anglicare Victoria;
  • CatholicCare;
  • 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:

  1. assisting children admitted to the guardianship of Adoption Victoria or the principal of an approved agency;
  2. counselling parents who are considering relinquishing their child for adoption;
  3. consenting to adoptions;
  4. providing information and guidance to prospective adoptive parents;
  5. assessing applicants to determine whether they are ‘fit and proper persons’ to adopt;
  6. supervising adoption placements;
  7. organising access arrangements and the exchange of information.

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