The new Adoption Regulations were made on 24 February 2019, following a review in late 2018. The primary responsibility for the Adoption Act and Adoption Regulations is now with the Department of Justice and Community Safety.

The primary objective of the adoption regulations is to protect the welfare and interests of children placed for adoption. The regulations seek to achieve this and avoid harms that might occur if adoption practices were to be unregulated. The hierarchy of objectives of the proposed regulations is to:

  • Protect the rights and wellbeing of adoptive children
  • Protect the rights and wellbeing of parents who place their children for adoption
  • Protect the rights and wellbeing of adoptive parents
  • Minimise the administrative burden in achieving the above objectives.

Access the Adoption Regulations 2019 on the Victorian Legislation and Parliamentary Documents website.

Changes to the Adoption Regulations

The majority of changes in the proposed regulations related to updating terminology and administrative forms.

New provisions supported the right of the child to genetic identity and the right of the father to consent to the adoption.

The regulations provided that where the father has not been identified, approved counsellors provide information to the mother about the importance to the child of knowing their origins  It  is in the interest of an adopted child’s connection to family, culture and identity and learning about their history.

Approved counsellors must complete a certificate of compliance specifying that the counsellor has given this information to the mother. The new regulations also seek to achieve the wishes in relation to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander culture that are consistent with the Act.

The regulations introduced adoption plans that will consolidate all of the considerations and decisions made by the parties to an adoption concerning contact and information exchange. The regulations require applicants to understand the importance of forming an adoption plan in relation to a child.

Adoption Regulatory Impact Statement

The Adoption Regulatory Impact Statement, which examines the costs and benefits of the proposed regulations, the draft regulations 2019 and the Human Rights Certificate are available to download and view: