The Adoption (Review) Amendment Act 2016 was passed in the South Australian Parliament in December 2016. The changes to be implemented by the Amendment Act will be commenced in two stages.
It is expected that the first stage will occur in early 2017 and will involve the commencement of those sections of the Amendment Act necessary to remove discrimination against same-sex couples from the Adoption Act.
It is expected that proclamation of the remaining sections of the Amendment Act will occur in mid-2017 after new regulations have been drafted and proclaimed.
See Changes to the adoption act for further information about how the amendments might affect you.
You can also check the key recommendations of the 2015 review of the Adoption Act on which the Amendment Act is based.
The amendments that were passed in December 2016 are based on the key recommendations of the 2015 Adoption Act Review. The main amendments are:
The Act will pay attention to children's rights by incorporating a wider statement of principles and objectives which acknowledge that adoptions must be in the best interests of children.
The Adoption Act will enable same-sex couples to apply to adopt a child. See Changes to same-sex, single person and adult adoptions for more information.
Adoption information vetoes
Adoption information vetoes prevent the release of identifying information to another party to the adoption. Adoption information vetoes will be abolished and phased out over 5 years. See Changes to vetoes for more information.
Adoption of adults
The Act will enable an adult to be adopted by a person(s) who cared for them in their childhood. A significant parent-to-child relationship must have existed between the prospective adoptive parent(s) and the adult seeking to be adopted.
This would include, for example, adoption of an adult by their foster parent or step-parent. See Changes to same-sex, single person and adult adoptions for more information.
Keeping a child’s original first name
The Act will provide that when a child is adopted, the Court making the adoption order should ensure that the child’s original first name is kept except in exceptional circumstances. See Changes to naming and birth certificates for more information.
The Act will enable an adopted person's birth certificate to provide the truest possible account of the biological parentage of the child. In most cases this will mean that an adopted person's birth registration details will include both their birth parents and their adoptive parents.
Any certificates issued would ensure that it is clear that the adoptive parents are the legal parents of the adopted person. See Changes to naming and birth certificates for more information.
Discharge of adoption orders
The Act will enable the court to discharge (undo) an adoption order where it is in the adopted person's best interests.
This may include, for example, where the adopted person has been abused in the adoptive family, or has suffered a loss of identity or belonging as a result of the adoption. See Changes to discharging adoption orders for more information.
To talk to someone about getting support for how these changes might affect you, you can contact:
Post Adoption Support Services (non-government)
Email: passinfo [at] rasa.org.au
Phone: (08) 8245 8100
Department for Child Protection adoption services unit (government)
Email: adoptions [at] sa.gov.au
Phone: 8463 3666
Adoption Act Review Office
Policy staff are available to help you with your queries about the Act.
Email: DECDFamiliesAdoptionReview [at] sa.gov.au
Phone: 8226 6840