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Applying for adoption information

The Adoption (Review) Amendment Act 2016 was passed in the South Australian Parliament in December 2016. As a result, significant changes to vetoes and restricting adoption information came into effect on 18 December 2017.

See the changes to vetoes page for more information about the changes, and what they might mean for you.

To request information about an adoption, you must complete and send off the correct  application form.

There are 3 separate forms depending on whether you are:

  • an adopted person
  • a birth parent
  • an adoptive parent.

The form asks you to provide some personal details as well as details about other parties to the adoption. This will help to locate the correct records and find the information you want.

If you want information about an adoption which was completed before 17 August 1989 a restriction may have been placed on the release of information about another person. These restrictions are called vetoes. See restricting adoption information for further details.

Read the Interim Guidelines: the exercise of the Chief Executive's discretion under section 27(5) of the Adoption Act 1988 (PDF 479KB)

I’m adopted

If you are adopted and have turned 18 you can apply for certain information about your adoption as well as any information, messages or items left for you by your birth family members.

Lineal descendants of an adopted person can also apply for certain information. This may include:

  • son
  • daughter
  • grandson
  • granddaughter.

Complete the application for adoption information form - adopted person (PDF 47KB).

If you are or believe you may be of Aboriginal descent, South Australian Aboriginal organisation Nunkuwarrin Yunti provides a service called Link-Up SA and may be able to help you with your enquiries. 

I’m an adoptive parent

If you adopted a child who has turned 18, you can apply for certain information about your child’s birth parents, as well as any information, message or item left for you by the birth parents.

You will need to have the consent of your adoptive child or proof of their death.

Complete the application for adoption information form - adoptive parent (PDF 40KB).

I’m a birth parent

If your child was adopted into another family and that child has turned 18, you can apply for the release of certain information.

I’m a relative

If you are a person who would have been a relative of the adopted person if the adoption order had not been made, you can also apply for certain information.  You will need to have the consent of the adopted person’s birth parent or proof of their death.

Relative is defined by the Adoption Act 1988 as a:

  • grandparent
  • brother
  • sister
  • uncle
  • aunt.

Complete the application for adoption information form - birth parent or relative (PDF 45KB).

I’m a descendent of an adopted person

If you are a descendant of an adopted person (e.g. child; grandchild of the adopted person) you can apply for the adopted person’s information. You will need to have the consent of the adopted person or provide evidence of their death.

Submitting the forms

Forms cannot be accepted electronically.

Print, complete and post to:

Customer Services unit

Department for Child Protection
GPO Box 1072
Adelaide, SA 5001

You can also request a form in hard-copy by contacting the Customer Service unit on 8207 2648.


The Department for Child Protection has waived the fee for this service.

Receiving information

Once your information is ready we will contact you.

We will also ask you how you would like to receive your information. This could be:

  • in the post
  • over the phone first
  • meeting with a social worker.

If there is a veto in place we will advise you of this and provide you with non-identifying information from the records.

How long will it take?

Applications are processed in the order we receive them.

We often receive a large number of applications at the same time so there may be a delay in processing your application.

There may be a further delay if the required research is complex. In some cases you may need to wait a period of weeks or even months depending on these factors.

We may be able to give you some indication of the waiting time for your information. Please make sure you inform us of any changes in contact details during this waiting period.


Past adoption services

Telephone: 8207 2648 (past adoptions)
Emailadoptions [at] sa.gov.au