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Adoption is one of a range of options used to provide permanent care for children who are unable to live with their families. It is a legal process where rights and responsibilities are transferred from a child’s parents to their adoptive parents.

The categories of adoption used in national reporting are:

  • Intercountry adoptions—adoptions of children from countries other than Australia who are legally able to be placed for adoption, but who generally have had no previous contact or relationship with the adoptive parent(s). Expatriate adoptions are not included in the numbers for intercountry adoptions.
  • Dynamic data display: Intercountry adoptions

    Dynamic charts and data for intercountry adoption

    Description and notes

  • Local adoptions—adoptions of children who were born or permanently residing in Australia before the adoption, who are legally able to be placed for adoption, but who generally have had no previous contact or relationship with the adoptive parent(s).
  • ‘Known’ child adoptions—adoptions of children who were born or permanently residing in Australia before the adoption, who have a pre-existing relationship with the adoptive parent(s) and who are generally not able to be adopted by anyone other than the adoptive parent(s). Known child adoptions include adoptions by step-parents, other relatives and carers.

These are the latest figures from Adoptions Australia 2014–15.

Adoptions in Australia, 2014–15

Adoptions flowchart 2015 PNG  

dash-74-percent-decline-adoptions

74% decline

in adoptions in Australia in the last 25 years.


1in3

1 in 3

adoptions were carer adoptions.

Carer adoptions increased more than four fold in the last decade.


5in1

41%

of local adoptees were under 1.

10%

of intercountry adoptees were under 1.


dash-94-percent

94%

of adoptees who came from overseas were from Asia.


dash-less-than-5-years-wait

>5 years

was the typical wait time for families who adopted a child from overseas in 2014–15.

This has increased by more than 2 years since 2007–08.


Graphic for birth mothers

1 in 2

birth mothers of local adoptees were aged under 25.

Almost all (89%) were unmarried.


graphic showing 91% of Australian adoptions were ‘open’.

91%

of local adoptions were ‘open’ (that is, all parties agreed to some contact).


61-34-percent

61%

of ‘known’ adoptions were by non-relative carers (such as foster carers), and

34%

of 'known' adoptions were by step-parents.