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Changes to naming and birth certificates

The Adoption (Review) Amendment Act 2016 has resulted in changes to birth certificates and adoptive names. These changes came into effect on 15 December 2018. 

What is the new law about adopted children's names?

The new law says that in all cases the Youth Court, at the time of granting the adoption order, will not change the first name of the child unless:

  • the first name is offensive or unsuitable; or
  • another child of the adoptive parents has the same first name. 

If the Court does change the first name of a child, then this should be changed to be the child's middle or second name - or a name that is significant to the child. 

This will not affect adoptions that occurred before 15 December 2018. 

What should I do if I want the Court to change my child's first name at the adoption hearing?

If you believe that there are circumstances for your child that mean their name should be changed, you will need to explain this to the Court in the documents that are part of the application for an adoption order.

The decision will be up to the Court. 

What is an integrated birth certificate?

A valid (not cancelled) birth certificate that includes the names of the adopted person's birth parents and adoptive parents is known as an 'integrated birth certificate'. It also has the full name that the child was given by their birth parents or guardians, as well as the adoptive name of the child. 

Integrated birth certificates may be available to people who were adopted in South Australia if they were born in this state, interstate or overseas.

An adopted person may apply to the Registrar of Births, Deaths and Marriages for an integrated birth certificate. 

An adopted person may first need to seek information about their adoption from the Department for Child Protection prior to applying for their certificate. 

Can an adopted person over the age of 18 years and a person adopted under previous South Australian adoption laws get an integrated birth certificate?

The new law allows for people adopted under any South Australian Adoption Act to get an integrated birth certificate if they are over the age of 18 years. 

There are some exceptions to this, for example: 

  • if the birth parent has a veto in place. Once the veto runs out on 17 December 2022, then an integrated birth certificate may be available.
  • if the Chief Executive is of the opinion that the release of the birth parent’s names may give rise to serious risk to the life or safety of the birth parents. 
Can adopted people under the age of 18 (or their adoptive parents) get an integrated birth certificate?

Yes. 

They can if the adoptive and birth parents have agreed at the time of the adoption (or later) that is it ok for an integrated birth certificate to be produced before the adopted person turns 18. 

If there is no agreement, the child's post-adoption birth certificate will only have on it the names of the adoptive parents. 

Any integrated birth certificate produced after an adoption will make it clear who are the legal parents of the child (the adoptive parents). 

Contact

Adoption Support

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 (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: DCPAdoptionReview [at] sa.gov.au
Phone: 8226 6840