Adoption and Forgotten Australians

Family history for adopted people, Forgotten Australians and child migrants

Australian adoption

Legal adoption commenced at different times in different parts of Australia. As each state has passed its own adoption legislation, access restrictions to information about your adoption and birth parents will differ in the different states. Please be aware that some states allow contact vetos to be issued by the birth parent or the adoptee, which prevents contact between the two parties.

Each state has a government department in charge of administering requests for adoption information. Original birth certificates (including the names of birth parents) are held at the Registry of Births, Deaths and Marriages Office in each state. To access your original birth certificate, you will need authorisation from the department in charge of adoption requests. Please consult the state specific sections of this page for more information about accessing adoption records.

 

New South Wales

Adoption records:

NSW Department of Community Services administers requests for release of information about adoptions.

The Adoption Information Unit will issue you with a Supply Authority. Once a Supply Authority has been given, you can use this to apply for your original birth certificate from the NSW Registry of Births Deaths and Marriages


Support services:

The Benevolent Society Post Adoption Resource Centre
Provides information, counselling and a range of other services to anyone affected by adoption in NSW and the ACT.

Origins Inc
Provides support for Adoption persons.

Salvation Army Special Search Service

Queensland

Adoption records

Queensland Department of Communities (Child Safety Services) administers requests for release of information about adoptions.

If the above Department provides you with authorisation to receive identifying information on your birth parents, you can then apply to the Queensland Registry of Births, Deaths and Marriages for your original birth certificate.

Support services:

Post Adoption Service Queensland (PASQ) provides counselling and support (including search and reunion assistance) to people affected by adoption.

Jigsaw Queensland provides services to those affected by adoption.

South Australia

Adoption records:

South Australian Department for Families and Communities administers requests for release of information about adoptions.

If the above Department provides you with authorisation to receive identifying information on your birth parents, you can then apply to the South Australian Registry of Births, Deaths and Marriages for further information.

Support services:

Post-Adoption Support Service (PASS)
Provides search, support and intermediary services for those affected by adoption.

Tasmania

Adoption records

Tasmanian Department of Health and Human Services administers requests for release of information about adoptions.

If the above Department provides you with authorisation to receive identifying information on your birth parents, you can then apply to the Tasmanian Registry of Births, Deaths and Marriages for your original birth certificate.

Western Australia

Adoption records:

Western Australian Department for Child Protection administers requests for release of information about adoptions.

If the above Department provides you with authorisation to receive identifying information on your birth parents, you can then apply to the Western Australian Registry of Births Deaths and Marriages for your original birth certificate.

Support services:

Jigsaw Western Australia provides services to those affected by adoption.

ARCS - Adoption Research and Counselling Service
Provides counselling, support and information for those affected by adoption.

Australian Capital Territory

Adoption Records:

ACT Community Services - Family Information Service
The Family Information Service can be contacted for information about ACT Adoptions.

Support services:

The Benevolent Society Post Adoption Resource Centre
Provides information, counselling and a range of other services to anyone affected by adoption in NSW and the ACT.

Northern Territory

Adoption records:

Department of Children and Families (NT)
The DCF Adoption Unit incorporates a Family Information Service. The service provides information and counselling to adopted people, birth parents, adoptive parents, and former state wards.

 

Inter-country adoption

Australian Intercountry Adoption Network (AICAN) Provides support to Adoptees who have been adopted cross-culturally.

International Social Service Australia
Provides social work services to families, children and single adults across international borders. Their intercountry services include family tracing and reunification, international family mediation, kinship care and other child welfare matters, and support for families experiencing international parental child abduction.