Overseas adoptions up again

The number of adoptions from overseas countries has reached a new high, with 434 intercountry adoptions recorded in 2004-05, compared with 370 in 2003-04, says a new report released today from the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare (AIHW).

The report, Adoptions Australia 2004-05 shows total adoptions recorded in Australia in 2004-05 numbered 585, with the majority of those (74%) being intercountry placement adoptions.

Report author Meredith Bryant says that just under a third (32%) of all children adopted in 2004-05 were from China, while 22% were from South Korea, 14% from Ethiopia and 11% from the Philippines.

'This is the largest number of children adopted from outside Australia on record,' Ms Bryant said.

Of the other adoptions in Australia, 15% were 'known' child adoptions and 11% were local placement adoptions.

'In general, legislative changes introduced around Australia over the last two decades have caused a downward trend in the number of 'known' child adoptions. This year however, there were 86 'known' child adoptions, a substantial increase from a record low of 59 in 2003-04,' she said.

Local adoptions continued the general trend of the last 30 years and declined in number to 65 in 2004-05.

More than one third of all children adopted were under the age of one.

Of children adopted from overseas, 37% were aged under one year, and a further 30% were one year of age.

In local placement adoptions the majority of all children were under the age of one.

'Known' child adoptions differed significantly in that 95% of the children were aged five and over.

In addition to presenting adoption statistics provided by state and territory community services departments, the report also provides data on the number of requests for information and the number of contact and information vetoes lodged by parties to an adoption.

In 2004-05 there were 3,414 applications for identifying information lodged, of which 72% were made by the adopted person.
Where the age of the adopted person was known, 90% of adopted people were aged over 25 years at the time of lodging an application.

There were 56 contact and identifying information vetoes lodged in 2004-05. In the previous year 63 vetos were lodged.

2 December 2005

Further information: Meredith Bryant, AIHW tel. 02 6244 1112 or 0407 915 851

For media copies of the report: Publications Officer, AIHW, tel 61 2 6244 1032.