27B Directions ('vetoes') operate to prevent the release of identifying information about one party to the other parties to an adoption. Adoption vetoes only apply to adoptions that were completed in South Australia before 17 August 1989.

As of 18 December 2017, the provisions allowing for directions (or 'vetoes') have been removed from the Adoption Act. This means the legal ability to lodge a section 27B direction (or 'veto') no longer exists.

All vetoes in place at 18 December 2017 will continue to have effect for 5 years to 17 December 2022 unless revoked earlier.

These changes commenced on 18 December 2017.

No person can place a new veto or renew an existing veto with the department.

For more information, read the frequently asked questions below.

  • What will happen to the veto system currently in place?

    As of 18 December 2017, the provisions allowing for directions (or 'vetoes') have been removed from the Adoption Act. This means that the legal ability to lodge a section 27B direction (or 'veto') no longer exists.

    Vetoes that are currently in place will continue for 5 years from 18 December 2017, unless the person who has placed the veto revokes the veto earlier.

    A veto will not be able to be renewed at the end of the 5 year transition period (17 December 2022).

    This means after 5 years, if a party to the adoption applies for the identifying information, that information may be released to them.

    Under section 27(5) of the Adoption Act, the Chief Executive may exercise discretion not to release information if it is determined that to disclose the information would:

    • be an unjustifiable intrusion on the privacy of the person to whom the information relates
    • give rise to a serious risk to the life or safety of a person
    • in the case of information relating to a person adopted before 17 August 1989 - not be in the best interests of the adopted person, taking into account the rights and welfare of the adopted person.

    During the 5 year transition period, the Department for Child Protection will provide services to support people whose vetoes are to expire and to people who are unable to obtain information for 5 years.

    Support services will also be provided by Post Adoption Support Services of Relationships Australia SA who can be contacted on (08) 8245 8100. There is no cost for these services.

  • Will my current veto immediately expire? If not, when will it expire?

    All vetoes in place at the commencement of the transition period will continue for 5 years unless revoked earlier by the person who placed the veto.

    They will expire on 17 December 2022.

  • Will there be a contact veto system?

    No.

    There will be no adoption veto system of any kind in South Australia after the 5 year transition period ends on 17 December 2022.

  • What is a Statement of Wishes?

    A Statement of Wishes is a written statement provided to the Chief Executive of the Department for Child Protection by an adopted person, birth parent or adoptive parent that sets out their wishes in relation to contact by another party to the adoption.

    Statements of Wishes are provided for in section 27B(4) of the Adoption Act 1988, which came into effect on 18 December 2017.

    Learn more about lodging a Statement of Wishes.

  • When will the changes to the adoption veto law come into effect?

    The change to vetoes commenced on 18 December 2017. A 5 year transition period to phase out existing vetoes commenced on this date and will conclude on 17 December 2022.

  • I have a veto in place and I am concerned about someone getting identifying information about me from the adoption file

    While your veto is in place, information that would enable you to be traced cannot be released.

    After the end of the 5 year transition period on 17 December 2022, if other parties apply for it, identifying information about you that is currently held in the adoption file may be made available to them.

    Support is available to you from DCP, and Post Adoption Support Services to help you prepare for this.

    Under section 27 (5) of the Adoption Act, the Chief Executive may exercise discretion not to release information if disclosing the information would:

    • be an unjustifiable intrusion on the privacy of the person to whom the information relates
    • give rise to a serious risk to the life or safety of a person
    • in the case of information relating to a person adopted before 17 August 1989 - not be in the best interests of the adopted person, taking into account the rights and welfare of the adopted person.

    The Act provides that the Minister for Child Protection may authorise disclosure of any information even if a veto is in place if that disclosure is necessary in the interests of the welfare of an adopted person.

    This is only under exceptional circumstances and rarely occurs.

  • What identifying information about me will the other parties be able to get?

    The other parties will be able to get identifying information about you that was collected by the Department for Child Protection at the time of the adoption.

    They will also be able to get some marriage or change of name details from the Births, Deaths and Marriages Registry, which may allow them to do further searching through electoral rolls and other publicly available sources of information.

    If you and/or other family members are active on social media such as Facebook, you may wish to check that your privacy settings are set to where you feel comfortable about the information that is publicly available.

  • Do I have to have contact with the other party if I don't want to?

    No. You will be under no obligation to have contact with anyone with whom you don't want to have contact.

    If you had a veto in place at 18 December 2017 you will be able to lodge with the Department for Child Protection a statement of your wishes about contact with other parties to the adoption. This statement will be provided with any adoption information disclosed to the other party when they apply for it.

    You may wish to provide the department with some family medical history information that can be passed on to the other party should they want this kind of information.

  • How can I stop someone from contacting me?

    If someone contacts you and you do not want this, you can make your wishes clear to them about that.

    If you feel you are being harassed, you have the right to report the harassment to the police.

  • If identifying information about me is made available, will this enable someone to find out about wider family members? Other family members don't know about the adoption. What can I do?

    Yes.

    The other party may be able to find out further information about other family members through various publicly available sources.

    The Post Adoption Support Services ((08) 8245 8100) can assist you in working through how and when to talk to other family members about this.

  • My child doesn't know they were adopted so they don't have a veto. Is there anything I can do to stop their birth parents making contact?

    Identifying information about your child will be available to their birth parents if they apply for it. They can then search and make contact if they wish to.

    We recommend that you talk with the Post Adoption Support Services on (08) 8245 8100 to discuss ways of telling your child that they are adopted prior to any potential contact.

  • Is there help for me to tell my family about these changes?

    Post Adoption Support Services can support you in managing your responses to these changes and in preparing to talk about things with other family members or people important to you.

    Post Adoption Support Services can be contacted on (08) 8245 8100. There is no cost for this service.

    Accessing information currently unavailable because of a veto

    Where there has been a veto, identifying information about parties to an adoption may be available after the end of the 5 year transition period on 17 December 2022.

    Access to the information may be restricted if the Department for Child Protection determines that it should not be released in certain circumstances.

    If an adopted person or birth parent dies while their veto is in place, the department will take reasonable steps to notify the other party to the adoption about the deceased person's identity and their death. In the case of the death of an adopted person, this includes notifying the birth siblings of the adopted person.

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@rasa.org.au
Phone: (08) 8245 8100

Department for Child Protection Adoption Services (government)

Emailadoptions@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@sa.gov.au
Phone: 8226 6840