Adoptions up slightly after years of falls

Both local and intercountry adoptions of children rose slightly in 2001-02 compared with the previous year, according to a report published today by the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare

Adoptions Australia 2001-02 shows there were 561 adoptions in Australia in 2001-02, 47 more than in 2000-01, but far from a peak of nearly 10,000 in 1971-72.

Co-author of the report, Susan Kelly, said the increase in the total number of adoptions for 2001-02 was mostly due to a rise in the number of local adoptions and the number of children adopted by relatives, carers, foster parents or guardians ('known child' adoptions).

'During this period, there were 107 local adoptions compared with 85 in the previous year, and 160 "known child" adoptions compared with 137 in the previous year,' Ms Kelly said.

'Of the 160 'known child' adoptions, the number of carer adoptions increased substantially-up from 29 in 2000-01 to 52 in 2001-02.

'The latter increase is partly due to a change of legislation in New South Wales which encourages permanency planning-especially for children in long-term out-of-home care.'

The reports shows that there were 294 intercountry adoptions in 2001-02, five more than the previous year. About one-third of these children were from South Korea (93), with 40 from India, 39 from China, 36 from Ethiopia, 28 from Thailand, 12 from the Philippines and 10 from Hong Kong.

Intercountry adoptions included 25 children adopted under the 1998 Hague Convention on Protection of Children and Cooperation in Respect of Intercountry Adoption. The Convention establishes uniform adoption procedures among its 40 signatory countries, and safeguards children's best interests.

There were 4,159 applications for information about past adoptions in 2001-02, a fall of 3% from the 4,304 lodged in the previous year. Most (73%) of these applications were made by the adopted person, with 16% of applications made by the birth parents and 6% by other birth relatives.

27 November 2002


Further information: Susan Kelly (co-author) AIHW, tel. (02) 6244 1182 or 0413 388 601 (mobile)
Helen Moyle, AIHW, tel. 02 6244 1188
For media copies of the report: Publications Officer, tel. 02 6244 1032