• In 1995-96 there were  668 adoptions of children in Australia—187 fewer than the previous year. All States and Territories recorded a decrease in adoptions in this period with the biggest changes in South Australia (56% decrease) and Western Australia (39% decrease).
  • The majority of adoptions (491 or 74%) were adoptions by non-relatives. Adoptions by step-parents accounted for 167 (25%) and adoptions by other relatives 10 (1%) of the total number of adoptions.
  • The majority (72%) of adoptions by relatives were aged between 5 and 14 years whereas only 24% of those adopted by non-relatives were in this age group. While 74% of adoptions by non-relatives were under 5 years of age only 8% of adoptions by relatives were 4 years of age or younger.
  • Of adoptions by non-relatives, 56% were born overseas. There were equal numbers of males and females (137) in the group of overseas-born adoptees.
  • The number of overseas-born adoptions peaked at 420 in 1989-90 and fell by 47% to 222 in 1993-94. There  was  a slight increase of 1% to 224 in 1994-95 and  a more substantial increase of 18% to 274 in 1995-96.
  • There were 146 fewer adoptions by step-parents in 1995-96 than in 1994-95. This difference was  mainly  accounted for by a decrease of 48 adoptions by step-parents in South Australia, and 71 adoptions by step-parents in Western Australia.
  • In 1995-96, 5,567 applications were  made for information about past adoptions in Australia by adopted persons, adoptive parents, birth parents and other birth relatives.