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Australians are most likely to adopt children from overseas
while fewer Australian children are being adopted, according to a
report released today by the Australian Institute of Health and
'In the last 25 years intercountry adoptions have emerged as the
dominant category of adoptions, representing 61% of all adoptions
in 2008-09, compared with just 10% in 1984-85,' said Mr Tim Beard,
Head of the AIHW's Child and Youth Welfare Unit.
Of the intercountry adoptions in 2008-09, most were from China
(23%), South Korea (17%), the Philippines (17%) and Ethiopia
Since the early 1970s, there has been a 22-fold decrease in
adoptions in Australia.
'This is a decrease from almost 10,000 adoptions in 1971-72 to
around 400 to 600 children each year since the mid 1990s,' Mr Beard
This decline can be attributed to the fall in the number of
adopted Australian children, including local adoptions, and
adoptions of children who have a pre-existing relationship with an
adoptive parent ('known' child adoptions).
According to the report, Adoptions Australia 2008-09,
there were 441 adoptions in Australia in 2008-09 - just one more
than the previous year.
About 25% of adoptions in 2008-09 were 'known' adoptions while
15% were local adoptions.
Almost two-thirds of 'known' adoptions (64%) were by
step-parents, and a further one-third (34%) by carers.
Over 70% of children adopted in 2008-09 were aged 5 years or
younger. In local and intercountry adoptions, nearly all children
were less than 5 years of age. On the other hand, for 'known'
adoptions, almost two-thirds of the children were aged 10 years and
Of the children in local and intercountry adoptions, around 60%
had adoptive parents aged 40 years and over and just over half were
adopted into families with no other children.
Two-thirds of the adoptions in 2008-09 could be considered
'open', that is, all parties were open to freely discussing the
adoption within their families, and were happy to allow contact to
occur between families.
The remaining third were adoptions where birth parents had
requested no contact or information between them and the adopting
Five Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children were adopted
in 2008-09, with a total of 72 Indigenous children being adopted
over the last 15 years.
Friday 5 February 2010
Further information: Mr Tim Beard, tel. 02 6244
1270 or mob. 0407 915 851.
For media copies of the report: (02) 6244
Adoptions Australia 2008-09