Adoption Act 2000 No 75
Chapter 2 Objects and adoption principles
6 What are the roles of the objects and adoption principles of this Act?
The provisions of this Chapter are intended to give guidance and direction in the administration of this Act. They do not create, or confer on any person, any right or entitlement enforceable at law.
7 What are the objects of this Act?
(cf AI Act s 3)
The objects of this Act are as follows:(a) to emphasise that the best interests of the child concerned, both in childhood and later life, must be the paramount consideration in adoption law and practice,(b) to make it clear that adoption is to be regarded as a service for the child concerned,(c) to ensure that adoption law and practice assist a child to know and have access to his or her birth family and cultural heritage,(d) to recognise the changing nature of practices of adoption,(e) to ensure that equivalent safeguards and standards to those that apply to children from New South Wales apply to children adopted from overseas,(f) to ensure that adoption law and practice complies with Australia’s obligations under treaties and other international agreements,(g) to encourage openness in adoption,(h) to allow access to certain information relating to adoptions,(i) to provide for the giving in certain circumstances of post-adoption financial and other assistance to adopted children and their birth and adoptive parents.
8 What principles are to be applied by persons making decisions about the adoption of a child?
(cf AC Act s 17, AC Reg cl 35)
(1) In making a decision about the adoption of a child, a decision maker is to have regard (as far as is practicable or appropriate) to the following principles:(a) the best interests of the child, both in childhood and in later life, must be the paramount consideration,(b) adoption is to be regarded as a service for the child,(c) no adult has a right to adopt the child,(d) if the child is able to form his or her own views on a matter concerning his or her adoption, he or she must be given an opportunity to express those views freely and those views are to be given due weight in accordance with the developmental capacity of the child and the circumstances,(e) the child’s given name or names, identity, language and cultural and religious ties should, as far as possible, be identified and preserved,(e1) undue delay in making a decision in relation to the adoption of a child is likely to prejudice the child’s welfare,(f) if the child is Aboriginal—the Aboriginal child placement principles are to be applied,(g) if the child is a Torres Strait Islander—the Torres Strait Islander child placement principles are to be applied.(2) In determining the best interests of the child, the decision maker is to have regard to the following:(a) any wishes expressed by the child,(b) the child’s age, maturity, level of understanding, gender, background and family relationships and any other characteristics of the child that the decision maker thinks are relevant,(c) the child’s physical, emotional and educational needs, including the child’s sense of personal, family and cultural identity,(d) any disability that the child has,(e) any wishes expressed by either or both of the parents of the child,(f) the relationship that the child has with his or her parents and siblings (if any) and any significant other people (including relatives) in relation to whom the decision maker considers the question to be relevant,(g) the attitude of each proposed adoptive parent to the child and to the responsibilities of parenthood,(h) the nature of the relationship of the child with each proposed adoptive parent,(i) the suitability and capacity of each proposed adoptive parent, or any other person, to provide for the needs of the child, including the emotional and intellectual needs of the child,(j) the need to protect the child from physical or psychological harm caused, or that may be caused, by being subjected or exposed to abuse, ill-treatment, violence or other behaviour, or being present while a third person is subjected or exposed to abuse, ill-treatment, violence or other behaviour,(k) the alternatives to the making of an adoption order and the likely effect on the child in both the short and longer term of changes in the child’s circumstances caused by an adoption, so that adoption is determined among all alternative forms of care to best meet the needs of the child.
9 Participation of child in decisions
(1) To ensure that a child is able to participate in any decision made under this Act that has a significant impact on his or her life, the decision maker is responsible for providing the child with the following:(a) adequate information, in a manner and language that the child can understand, concerning the decision,(b) the opportunity to express his or her views freely, according to his or her abilities,(c) information about the outcome of the decision and an explanation of the reasons for the decision,(d) any assistance that is necessary for the child to understand the information and to express his or her views,(e) appropriate counselling when the child’s consent is required to his or her adoption.(2) In the application of this principle, due regard must be had to the age and developmental capacity of the child.(3) Decisions about the adoption of a child that have a significant impact on the life of the child include, but are not limited to, decisions relating to the following:(a) the placement for adoption of the child,(b) the development of any adoption plan concerning the child and the views of the child’s parents about the plan,(c) an application for an order for the adoption of the child,(d) contact with birth parents or others connected with the child.