Adoption information services

 

People who are or who have been parties to an adoption may apply for information relevant to the adoption. DHS and approved adoption agencies maintain an adoption information service.

Adults who have been adopted may apply to an adoption information service to obtain their records including their original birth certificate and information, where available, about the circumstances of their adoption. VANISH (see below) provides advice on searching and making contact, particularly for people undertaking their own search.

Adoptive parents, adopted people under 18, birth parents who have placed their children for adoption in the past and relatives may also apply for information. Natural parents have a right to access identifying information about their adult adopted children, such as the adopted person’s name recorded at the time of adoption.

An adopted person can choose what type of contact they wish to have with their natural parents, including a desire for no contact, in a contact statement. However, if the adopted person does not want to have contact with their natural parent, that will not prevent the release of the initial identifying information to the natural parent.

Natural parents can apply to FIND (see contact details below) or relevant authority on the prescribed form. FIND, or the approved adoption information service, will advise if there has been a contact statement lodged by their adult adopted child expressing that adopted adult’s wishes about contact.

It is a criminal offence with a penalty for a natural parent to try to contact an adopted person who has indicated that they do not want to be contacted by the natural parent.

Anyone applying for information must attend an interview with an approved counsellor.

The interview is not a personal assessment. It is a discussion and information session explaining the services available to you through FIND. It will prepare you for possible outcomes and provide you with information about support and self-help groups in the community.

Other people must seek information about an adoption through the court.

Victorian adoption agencies

The following agencies are authorised under the Adoption Act. People wishing to discuss placing a child for adoption may approach the agency closest to their home. Those wishing to adopt a child or provide permanent care for a child may also approach their regional agency for additional information. A list of these agencies can also be found on the DHS website at www.dhs.vic.gov.au.

Adoption and permanent care services

Adoption and permanent care services are provided by DHS and non-government agencies on a regional basis. All of the following services are responsible for placing both healthy infants and older children.

State-wide

CatholicCare

3 Wingfield Street, Footscray Vic 3011

Tel: 9689 3888

Email: adoptions@ccam.org.au; footscray@ccam.org.au

Web: www.ccam.org.au

Central Resource Exchange

Adoption and Permanent Care

Locked Bag 2015, Box Hill Vic 3128

Email: adoption.inquiry@dhs.vic.gov.au

Tel: 9096 8003 (leave a message; the office is staffed part-time)

The Central Resource Exchange is responsible for coordinating placement of children across the state and for organising state-wide information and training sessions for the Infant Adoption Program of Victoria.

Melbourne: eastern suburbs

Department of Health and Human Services

883 Whitehorse Road, Box Hill Vic 3128

Tel: 1300 360 452

Melbourne: northern suburbs

Department of Health and Human Services

679 High Street, Preston Vic 3072

Tel: 1300 664 977

Melbourne: western suburbs

Anglicare Western

41 Somerville Road, Yarraville Vic 3013

Tel: 9396 7400

Melbourne: southern and bayside suburbs

Connections UnitingCare

274 High Street, Windsor Vic 3181

Tel: 9521 5666

Mornington Peninsula, Frankston and surrounding areas

Connections UnitingCare

274 High Street, Windsor Vic 3181

Tel: 9521 5666

Geelong, Warrnambool, Portland and Hamilton

Department of Health and Human Services

Level 2, cnr Little Malop and Fenwick Streets,

Geelong Vic 3220

Tel: 5226 4540

Ballarat, Horsham, Stawell and surrounding areas

Child and Family Services Ballarat

Ludbrook House, 115 Lydiard Street North, Ballarat Vic 3350

Tel: 5337 3333

Bendigo, Maryborough, Castlemaine, Echuca, Swan Hill, Mildura and surrounds

St Luke’s Anglicare

175–187 Hargreaves Street, Bendigo Vic 3552

Tel: 5440 1100

Central and Eastern Gippsland

Anglicare Gippsland

65 Church Street, Morwell Vic 3840

Tel: 5133 9998

Shepparton, Seymour, Benalla, Wangaratta, Wodonga and surrounding areas

Department of Health and Human Services

163–167 Welsford Street, Shepparton Vic 3630

Tel: 5832 1500

Overseas adoption

Intercountry Adoption Service (ICAS)

Department of Health and Human Services

Tel: 1300 650 172

Web: www.dhs.vic.gov.au

Extensive information about intercountry adoption is provided on the DHHS website at www.dhs.vic.gov.au; search “intercountry adoption”.

Adoption information services

Family Information Networks and Discovery (FIND)

Duty Worker – Department of Human Services

Level 20, 570 Bourke Street, Melbourne Vic 3000

Tel: 8608 5700; 1300 769 926

Email: findduty@dhs.vic.gov.au

Web: www.dhs.vic.gov.au

FIND provides access to information about past adoptions that are connected to Victoria, including intercountry adoptions. FIND can also help people who were adopted in the United Kingdom. As well as accessing documents, FIND may be able to help adopted people and their birth families make contact with each other.

Other sources of information

People involved in an adoption may seek advice from the following organisations. (Note that these organisations do not provide information from adoption records.)

Association of Relinquishing Mothers (ARMS)

PO Box 645, Deepdene Vic 3103

Tel: 9769 0232

Email: arms@armsvic.org.au

Web: www.armsvic.org.au

Victorian Adoption Network for Information and Self Help (VANISH)

First floor, 50 Howard Street, North Melbourne Vic 3051

PO Box 112, Carlton South Vic 3053

Tel: 9328 8611; 1800 826 474

Email: info@vanish.org.au

Web: www.vanish.org.au

Victorian Aboriginal Child Care Agency Co-operative Limited (VACCA)

340 Bell Street, Preston Vic 3072

Tel: 9287 8800

Email: vacca@vacca.org

Web: www.vacca.org