9. Respect Aboriginal tradition and Island custom

The Adoption Act 2009 respects Aboriginal tradition and Island custom and does not promote adoption as an appropriate option for the long-term care of an Aboriginal or a Torres Strait Islander child.

However, some parents and guardians of an Aboriginal or a Torres Strait Islander child do explore adoption for a child’s care and may ask the department or Adoption Services to make arrangements for the child’s adoption.

The Adoption Act 2009 recognises that the interests of Aboriginal people and Torres Strait Islander people require particular consideration in adoption processes and decisions. The Adoption Act 2009 recognises:

  • that adoption is not part of Aboriginal tradition or Island custom, and that adoption of an Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander child should be considered as a way of meeting the child’s need for long-term stable care only if there is no better available option
  • that it is in the best interests of an Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander child:
    • to be cared for within an Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander community
    • to maintain contact with the child’s community or language group
    • to develop and maintain a connection with the child’s Aboriginal tradition or Island custom
    • to have their sense of their Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander identity preserved and enhanced.

Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander parents may receive some components of pre-consent counselling from an appropriate Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander person. This counselling must be carried out in a way and place appropriate to Aboriginal tradition or Island custom in accordance with the Adoption Act 2009, section 25.

Where adoption is being considered for an Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander child, where age and developmentally appropriate, the child must be offered counselling about the proposed adoption. Some components of the counselling may be provided by an appropriate Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander person and must be carried out in a way and place appropriate to Aboriginal tradition or Island custom in accordance with the Adoption Act 2009, section 46.