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Placing a child for adoption in South Australia

If you are considering adoption for your child, refer to the considering adoption booklet (PDF 199KB) for a comprehensive overview of your options and the adoption process.  

The Department for Child Protection is the only agency in South Australia that can organise an adoption.

Discussing your options

The decision to place a child for adoption is an extremely difficult one and might be made for any number of reasons.

If you would like to talk to someone about adoption and your child, you can contact Placement Services to make an appointment with a social worker.

You can come alone or with your partner or a support person.

Alternatives to adoption

If you are unsure about whether you are able to parent your child, adoption is only one of a number of choices you can make for the care of your child.

Other options are outlined below.

Raising the child yourself

Whether or not you parent your child yourself may depend on:

  • your relationship with your child and your partner
  • your financial position and plans for the future
  • whether your partner is prepared to support you and the child
  • whether you are single and prepared and able to raise a child alone
  • whether your family is supportive and positive
  • whether you feel ready for parenthood.

If you decide to raise your child alone or with a partner, there are agencies available for support.

Social workers or other counsellors in several agencies can provide further advice and referrals to other agencies.

Relatives could care for your child

Relatives may agree to bring up a child when parents are unable to carry out this role themselves.

If you are going to ask a family member to care for your child, everyone involved should agree about:

  • who will tell the child about their identity and place in the family.
  • who will have the responsibility for making decisions about the child's upbringing.
  • who will financially support the child
  • what contact you will have with the child and how this will happen.

The relative responsible for caring for your child may apply to the Family Court for legal arrangements to enable them to make legal decisions for the child into the future.

Foster care

Foster care means another family will care for your child for a short period of time.

Temporary foster care may be arranged for parents who are having difficulties caring for their child, or who may be having a crisis.

See different types of foster care for more information.

Consent to adoption

For a child to be legally adopted, the child’s parents must legally relinquish their rights to the child by formally signing consent to the adoption.

Before consent can be given, you must be part of a counselling process which will address many aspects of your situation.

See the considering adoption booklet (PDF 199KB) for more information about the process.

Adoptive parents

People who apply to become adoptive parents are thoroughly assessed on their eligibility and suitability. Once approved, they are registered with the department as prospective adoptive parents and may then be placed with a child.

For information about becoming a prospective adoptive parent see adopting a local child.

Adoption orders

Adoption is a permanent legal arrangement.  

After a child has been with their adoptive family for about 3-6 months, their adoptive parents can apply to the Youth Court for an Adoption Order.

An Adoption Order through the Youth Court of South Australia means that all of the original parents’ rights and responsibilities are legally removed.

The adoptive family takes on all these rights and responsibilities for the child's care and parenting. 


Adoption services

Telephone: 8463 3666 (current adoptions)
Email: adoptions [at] sa.gov.au