New Aihw Report: Adoptions Australia 2008-09

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5th February 2010, 02:06pm - Views: 713

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More overseas adoptions, fewer local adoptions

Australians are most likely to adopt children from overseas while fewer Australian children

are being adopted, according to a report released today by the Australian Institute of Health

and Welfare (AIHW).

‘In the last 25 years intercountry adoptions have emerged as the dominant category of

adoptions, representing 61% of all adoptions in 2008-09, compared with just 10% in 1984-85,’

said Mr Tim Beard, Head of the AIHW’s Child and Youth Welfare Unit.

Of the intercountry adoptions in 2008-09, most were from China (23%), South Korea (17%),

the Philippines (17%) and Ethiopia (14%).

Since the early 1970s, there has been a 22-fold decrease in adoptions in Australia. 

‘This is a decrease from almost 10,000 adoptions in 1971-72 to around 400 to 600 children

each year since the mid 1990s,’ Mr Beard said. 

This decline can be attributed to the fall in the number of adopted Australian children,

including local adoptions, and adoptions of children who have a pre-existing relationship

with an adoptive parent (‘known’ child adoptions).

According to the report, Adoptions Australia 2008-09, there were 441 adoptions in Australia in

2008-09 – just one more than the previous year.

About 25% of adoptions in 2008-09 were ‘known’ adoptions while 15% were local adoptions. 

Almost two-thirds of ‘known’ adoptions (64%) were by step-parents, and a further one-third

(34%) by carers.

Over 70% of children adopted in 2008-09 were aged 5 years or younger. In local and

intercountry adoptions, nearly all children were less than 5 years of age. On the other hand,

for ‘known’ adoptions, almost two-thirds of the children were aged 10 years and older.

Of the children in local and intercountry adoptions, around 60% had adoptive parents aged

40 years and over and just over half were adopted into families with no other children.

Two-thirds of the adoptions in 2008-09 could be considered ‘open’, that is, all parties were

open to freely discussing the adoption within their families, and were happy to allow contact

to occur between families. 

The remaining third were adoptions where birth parents had requested no contact or

information between them and the adopting family.

Five Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children were adopted in 2008-09, with a total of

72 Indigenous children being adopted over the last 15 years.

Canberra, 5 February 2009

Further information: Tim Beard, tel. 02 6244 1270 or mob. 0407 915 851

For media copies of the report: Publications Officer 02 6244 1032

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