Adoption is one of the options used to provide permanent care for children who are unable to live with their families. The adoption process establishes a permanent, legal parent–child relationship between a child and their adoptive parent(s).

More reports and statistics on adoption can be found under Child protection and Children & youth.

Featured reports

Latest findings

Known child adoptions (where a child is known to the adoptive parent) made up 69% of all finalised adoptions in 2020–21

Adoption numbers in Australia declined by 63% over the past 25 years – from 709 in 1996–97 to 264 in 2020–21

Adoption by carers was the most common type of known child adoption (55%), followed by step-parents (42%)

The majority of local adoptees (95%) and intercountry adoptees (71%) were aged under 5

The 264 adoptions finalised in 2020–21 are the lowest number on record

In 2020–21, the median length of time to process an intercountry adoption was 3 years and 4 months