ACT News

ACT records biggest rise in adoptions despite nationwide fall

The ACT has experienced the biggest rise in adoptions in Australia, bucking a nationwide decline in adopted children. 

The number of children adopted to Canberra parents and guardians has more than doubled in the past year from six to 17, according to the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare Adoptions Australia 2013–14 report. 

The ACT was one of only two Australian states and territories to experience a rise in finalised adoptions. Victorian adoptions jumped by three to 48.

But adoptive parents in Canberra seem to have their sights set overseas with 10 children adopted internationally. 

Of the remaining seven children adopted in Australia only one child did not have a prior caring relationship with their adoptive parent or parents. 

The other six were known child adoptions, involving a carer such as a foster carer or step parent.

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Across Australia the number of finalised adoptions fell 9 per cent to 317 from the 2012-2013 financial year to 2013-2014.

The majority of children were four years old or younger however, there has been drop in the number of babies adopted from overseas to 14 per cent. 

Institute spokesman Tim Beard said the number of children adopted from overseas had continued to decline while the number of Australian children adopted was similar to the previous year.

Of the 317 finalised adoptions, 203 were of children who were born or permanently residing in Australia – a slight drop from the 210 adoptions a year earlier. 

The number of finalised inter-country adoptions dropped from 129 to 114, the lowest number in the past decade. The most common countries of origin were Taiwan (41 adoptions), the Philippines (18) and South Korea (13).

While international adoptions in all states and territories reflected the national drop, the ACT's 10 inter-country adoptions was a similar number to the 12 in the 2004–05 financial year.

"The change in the number of intercountry adoptions can, at least in part, be attributed to variations in the intercountry programs operating each year, and to changes in adoption practices in countries of origin," according to the report. 

Processing times for inter-country adoptions were beginning to stabilise at around five years.

Meanwhile, more than a quarter (89) of all finalised adoptions in Australia were by known carers and triple the number of known adoptions a decade ago, largely due to NSW reforms.

To be eligible to adopt in the ACT respective guardians need to be a married or de facto couple for more than three years, including same-sex couples, or a single person in special circumstances. 

Since 1993 all Canberra adoptions have been considered open with some form of contact or information exchange encouraged.

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