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									Considering adoption for your child
What is adoption?
Adoption is an option parents can consider for securing permanent care for their child.

Adoption is a legal process that transfers the rights and responsibilities of parenthood
from a child’s birth parents to their adoptive parents. Adoption creates a permanent legal
relationship between a child and their adoptive parents.

The Adoption Act 2009 and Adoption Regulation 2009 sets out how adoption services
must be provided in Queensland.

The Department of Communities is the only agency with authority to arrange the
adoption of children in the state. The Department’s Adoption Services Queensland is
responsible for providing adoption services in Queensland. It is unlawful for anyone else
to state that they can arrange a child’s adoption in Queensland.

If parents decide to consent to their child’s adoption, it is up to the Childrens Court to
decide whether all the legal requirements are met so that an adoption order can be
made for a child. Parents do not need to attend Court proceedings.

The parents’ preferences about the sort of family they would like their child to be placed
with are considered when selecting a suitable adoptive family for the child.

Considering options
There are many reasons why parents decide that they are unable to parent their child,
and consider adoption an appropriate option.

Parents considering the future care of their children are encouraged to consider all
available options and discuss alternatives with members of their family and people in
their support network.

Making decisions about whether adoption is the best option to provide for a child’s future
care can be a difficult process. It is normal for a parent to experience a range of
emotions, including feelings of grief and loss, when making decisions about whether
they can parent their child.

Professional staff from Adoption Services Queensland, Department of Communities, or
from the Department’s Child Safety Services Centre in the local area, can assist parents
consider options available for their child’s care.

Parents can also obtain information and support from services in the community,
including hospital social workers and pregnancy planning services and other community
agencies.
Privacy
All contact that parents or expectant parents have with Adoption Services Queensland or
the Department’s local Child Safety Service Centres is confidential and treated with
sensitivity.

Parents and expectant parents may make anonymous enquiries and be provided with in-
depth information about the adoption process.

If a parent decides to seek adoption for their child, the Department will require a range of
information including information about both of the child’s parents, the child for whom
adoption is being considered and other family members.

Under the Adoption Act 2009, the Department of Communities is required and
authorised to collect information required to assist a parent who is considering adoption
for their child. All information provided by a parent considering adoption for their child will
be managed in accordance with the Information Privacy Principles described in the
Information Privacy Act 2009.

The Department of Communities may be required to provide information to a court or
tribunal or other persons as authorised under the Adoption Act 2009.

Adoption care agreements
A parent may wish to arrange for their child to be cared for by an approved foster carer
while they consider adoption. For this to occur, a parent can voluntarily enter into an
adoption care agreement with the Department while they receive counselling and
information about adoption.

The parent continues to be the child’s guardian while the child is subject to an adoption
care agreement and placed with approved carers. The parent can arrange to see the
child and choose to make decisions about the child’s care. Parents can end the
agreement by providing two days notice in writing.

Adoption consents
For a child to be adopted, the child’s mother and father are required to give fully
informed and voluntary consent to the adoption.

Information and pre-consent counselling must be provided to parents before they can
consent to a child’s adoption. Adoption Services Queensland is responsible for ensuring
that any parent considering adoption understands the effects of giving consent and the
nature and effects of an adoption order.

Parents of an Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander child may have counselling provided in
a way and at a place appropriate to Aboriginal tradition or Island custom and counselling
about a range of matters may be provided by an appropriate Aboriginal or Torres Strait
Islander person.

If a parent lives in South East Queensland, an Adoption Officer from Adoption Services
Queensland will provide the information and counselling to the parent. If a parent lives
outside South East Queensland, a Child Safety Officer at a local Child Safety Service
Centre will provide these services in consultation with Adoption Services Queensland.

In some instances it may not be possible to obtain one parent’s consent. In these
circumstances it may be possible for the Department to apply to the Childrens Court for
an order dispensing with the need for that parent’s consent so the child’s permanent
care can be secured through adoption.

If parents consent to the adoption of their child, they have 30 days in which they can
revoke their consent. To revoke consent, parents must advise the Adoption Services
Queensland of their decision in writing. Arrangements may then be made for the child to
be returned to them.

Where parents do not revoke their consent to their child’s adoption, Adoption Services
Queensland will select the most suitable prospective adoptive parents for the child and
make an application for an adoption order to the Childrens Court. If the Court is satisfied
that all the legal requirements are meet, it will make an adoption order.


Contact after an adoption order is made
When a child’s adoption is being arranged, a child’s prospective adoptive parents and
birth parents can work with Adoption Services Queensland to reach agreement about
the degree of contact there may be between parties to an adoption before the adopted
child turns 18 and any other matters that may affect the child’s wellbeing.

When agreement is reached, the arrangements are set out in an adoption plan. An
adoption plan is a written document entered into between a child’s birth parents and
prospective adoptive parents when all parties wish there to be in-person or other contact
between the child and the child’s birth family after an adoption order is made.

An adoption plan can detail how contact will happen and the intended nature and
frequency of contact. Although an adoption plan is not legally enforceable and will not
alter the adoptive parents’ role as the child’s only legal parents, it sets out the plan for
contact the adoptive parents and birth parents mutually agreed to at the time the
adoption order was made. Even if direct contact is not planned, it can detail the parties’
agreement to exchange non-identifying information via Adoption Services Queensland
(mailbox service) after the adoption order is made and matters associated with mailbox
participation.


Next steps
If you are considering adoption for your child:
      discuss options for your child’s future care with trusted members of your family
        and support network
      contact Adoption Services Queensland for information
      talk with a social worker at your local hospital
      if you are inside the Brisbane area, make an appointment to see an Adoption
        Officer from Adoption Services Queensland
      if you are outside the Brisbane area, Adoption Services Queensland can assist
        you to make arrangements to see a Child Safety Officer at the local Child Safety
        Service Centre.

There is no assumption that anyone who contacts Adoption Services Queensland
or their local Child Safety Service Centre for information will proceed with
consenting to their child’s adoption.

Further information
Parents who want legal advice about the effects of consenting to a child’s adoption and
the nature and effect of adoption can contact Legal Aid Queensland or a solicitor at a
law firm in their local area. Fees will apply for services provided by a solicitor at law firms
in the local area. Legal Aid Queensland may be able to provide services at no cost and
can be contacted by telephone on 1300 651 188. Information about Legal Aid
Queensland is also available at www.legalaid.qld.gov.au/Pages/Home.aspx.
Parents who need interpreting help or to have information translated can contact the
Commonwealth Government Translating and Interpreting Service on telephone 131 450.
Information about the Commonwealth Government Translating and Interpreting Service
is also available at www.immi.gov.au/living-in-australia/help-with-
english/help_with_translating/ .
Parents who need further information about consenting to a child’s adoption can
contact Adoption Services Queensland. Contact details are:
Adoption Services Queensland
Address:                 Level 1 111
                         George Street
                         Brisbane Qld 4000

Postal address:        GPO Box 806
                       Brisbane Qld 4001

Phone:                 07 3224 7415
                       1800 647 983 (free call within Queensland)

Fax:                   07 3210 0350

Email:                 asq@childsafety.qld.gov.au

Website:               www.communities.qld.gov.au/childsafety/

								
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