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Adoption and Permanent Care in Queensland

Where to Start

If you are considering taking on the permanent care of a child (including through adoption), we recommend you first read our information on How Adoption Works in Australia.

As each state has its own legislation, agencies and variables, the next step is to assess the options for providing a permanent home to a child in QLD and determine which is right for you. 

Currently in Queensland there are four possible pathways:

  • Local adoption
  • Intercountry adoption
  • Adoption from foster care
  • Special guardianship/permanent care
  • Long-term foster care

Who Can Apply?

For both local and international adoption the eligibility criteria for submitting an expression of interest to adopt a child are:

  • You are an adult and you live in Queensland
  • You or your partner are an Australian citizen
  • You are not pregnant
  • You are not an intended parent under a surrogacy arrangement within the meaning of the Surrogacy Act 2010, or if you have been an intended parent for a surrogacy arrangement the surrogacy arrangement must have ended at least six months earlier
  • You don’t have custody of a child under 1 year of age (does not include children for whom the person is an approved carer)
  • they don’t have a child who has been in their custody for less than 1 year.

Local Adoption

Usually there are only a small number of children each year requiring adoptive placements in Queensland, and generally they are children aged up to two years of age.

The initial steps are:

  1. Contact the QLD Department of Communities, Child Safety and Disability Services and arrange to attend an information session
  2. Complete the Adoption Expression of Interest form
  3. You will be notified if you meet eligibility requirements

 

If you meet eligibility requirements you will be placed on the expression of interest register. This does not guarantee that you will be selected to undertake an assessment. If you do not receive a notice of selection for assessment within 2 years, your expression of interest expires. You may then lodge another expression of interest.

Assessment is a comprehensive process and may include:

  • criminal, domestic violence, traffic and child protection history checks
  • home visits for assessment interviews
  • talking with you, your partner (if applicable), children, other adult household members and nominated referees if required
  • obtaining information about your health

Intercountry Adoption

The Queensland Government manages intercountry adoption applications and assessments for those applying to adopt children through one of Australia’s intercountry adoption programs.

The initial steps for intercountry adoption are the same as those for local adoption:

  1. Contact the QLD Department of Communities, Child Safety and Disability Services and arrange to attend an information session
  2. Complete the Adoption Expression of Interest form
  3. You will be notified if you meet eligibility requirements

 

If you meet eligibility requirements you will be contacted and placed on the expression of interest register.

You must also meet the eligibility requirements of the overseas country from which you wish to adopt a child. Information about the requirements of each partner country can be found at the Intercountry Adoption Australia website.

It is also a good idea to speak with someone who has adopted from the country that you are considering applying to. International Adoptive Families Queensland (IAFQ) offers information and support to prospective adopters.See their website for more information.

Costs

There are administrative and legal costs relating to a local and intercountry adoption in Queensland.

Additionally intercountry adoption involves costs such as airfares when you travel to meet and bring home your child, and visa and immigration fees.

For both local and intercountry adoption you should also factor in the time you will spend away from the workforce in order to support and form a relationship with your adopted child when they return home with you.

See the Queensland Government website for details about Adoption fees.

Adoption from Foster Care

While adoption of a child from Foster Care in Queensland is technically possible, in practice it rarely occurs.

Foster carers who wish to apply to adopt a child in their care should contact the relevant Child Safety Service Centre to discuss the child’s current case plan and the circumstance and specific needs of the child. If adoption by a child’s foster carer is considered to be the preferred option for permanent care, the foster carer would need to be assessed in the same was as applicants for local or inter-country adoption.

Permanent Care/Special Guardianship

In July 2017 the Queensland Government announced changes to the Child Protection Act, which will include a new permanent care order for children who cannot safely live with their birth families. A permanent care order means that a child would stay with their carer until they reach the age of 18.

These changes are still being implemented, and it is not yet established as to whether the existing long-term guardianship orders currently possible in Queensland will continue or will be replaced by the new permanent care order.

Currently a Long-Term Guardianship Order (either to a suitable person, or to the chief executive of Child Safety) is possible. Download a pdf from the Queensland Government website to read more about this type of order.

Adopt Change will update our information when the changes are implemented.

Long-term Foster Care

Foster care is an option for children who have been removed from their birth families for their safety and well being, and it has been decided that they are unable to return home. Long-term foster care involves caring for children until they reach adulthood (usually 18 years) and are ready to live independently. Parental responsibility of the child remains to the chief executive of Child Safety. In Queensland, long-term foster care is currently the most common option for providing a long-term home for a child in statutory care.

To be eligible you must be over 18 years of age, and be able to obtain a blue card (required for all people working with children in Queensland).

The process for becoming a foster carer in Queensland is:

  1. Read the information about becoming a foster
  2. Complete an expression of interest found online
  3. You will then be contacted and invited to complete an application form
  4. Complete a blue card application
  5. Undergo assessment – home safety, referee checks, medical checks and interviews
  6. Complete pre-service training


More information

To find out about local and international adoption or becoming a long-term foster carer call 1300 550 877 or visit the Queensland Government website.

For intercountry adoption, the Intercountry Adoption Australia: your guide to overseas adoption website is a useful starting point, and has information about the eligibility requirements and related costs of each partner country.

Support Services

You can access information on support services in Queensland in our support services section.