Number of adoptions, Queensland, 1997-98 to 2010-11Number of adoptions, Queensland, 2016-17 to 2020-21

1997-98 111
1998-99 94
1999-00 105
2000-01 62
2001-02 49
2002-03 67
2003-04 65
2004-05 84
2005-06 82
2006-07 91
2007-08 86
2008-09 92
2009-10 68
2010-11 40

Number of adoptions, by type, Queensland, 1997-98 to 2010-11 Number of adoptions, by type, Queensland, 2016-17 to 2020-21

1997-98 28 40 43
1998-99 22 36 36
1999-00 24 21 60
2000-01 9 13 40
2001-02 10 6 33
2002-03 23 15 29
2003-04 14 2 49
2004-05 13 6 65
2005-06 8 13 61
2006-07 12 16 63
2007-08 17 22 47
2008-09 20 23 49
2009-10 10 20 38
2010-11 1 4 35


A.1: Adoption orders made, by category of adoption order, Queensland Excel (XLSX, 14 KB) Excel (CSV, 2 KB)
A.2: Applications for identifying information by adults, by person lodging the application and year of application, Queensland Excel (XLSX, 14 KB) Excel (CSV, 3 KB)
A.3: Intercountry adoptions, by child's country of origin, Queensland Excel (XLSX, 15 KB) Excel (CSV, 3 KB)

NOTE: From 1 July 2019, two measures concerning adoption applications and applications for non-identifying information by adults have been discontinued.

What is adoption?

Adoption is a way to provide a permanent family for children who, for various reasons, cannot live with their family of birth. The legal process of adoption establishes a permanent parent-child relationship between a child and his or her adoptive parents. Adoption also removes the legal relationship between the child and his or her birth parents and extended birth family, including siblings and grandparents.

The department is the sole agency with authority to arrange adoptions in Queensland and is responsible for administering the Adoption Act 2009 (PDF) and the Adoption Regulation 2009 (PDF).

Why this topic is important

Until the mid-1970s, Queensland's adoption program focused on finding suitable adoptive families for a large number of infants who required adoptive placements. Today, only a small number of Queensland parents choose adoption for the long-term care of their children each year, although a large number of people still wish to adopt children. In recent years, most of the children adopted in Queensland were born overseas and came to Queensland to be adopted by Queensland couples through an intercountry adoption program.

The department maintains an expression of interest register which records the interest of people who wish to adopt a child born in Queensland, or a child born overseas through an intercountry adoption program. People can also apply to the department to adopt their step-child.

More than 50,000 people have been adopted in Queensland. The department can assist people to access information about an adoption that occurred in Queensland. An adopted person or birth parent can apply for information. Certain relatives of an adopted person or birth parent may also apply for information in some circumstances.

Different requirements and processes apply depending on whether the adopted person is under 18 years of age or whether the adopted person is an adult.

The number of Queensland children adopted has decreased substantially since the 1980s.

Although there are children requiring adoptive families, fewer adoptive families are required for children born in Queensland today than were required in past decades. Due to changing community attitudes and stronger support systems, most parents are able to care for their children or are able to arrange for their children to be cared for within the family network.

It was fairly common for children in Queensland to be adopted by a step-parent or another relative in the 1960s and 70s. However, families can now consider alternatives to adoption that did not exist at that time which secure the interests of children in step-families. These options include all family members registering and using a common surname, seeking parenting orders in the Family Court and making specific provision in wills for the benefit of step-children.

A very small number of step or blended families in Australia still consider adoption to be the right option for their family. Although the number of step-parent adoption orders made in Queensland has fluctuated over the last ten years, the number has remained small.

Under Australia's arrangements with other countries about adoption, the Queensland Government has agreed to find suitable prospective adoptive parents for their children who require the permanent care of a family. Although more children are adopted from overseas than from Queensland, the number of children adopted from overseas has decreased in recent years.

Identifying information has been provided to more than 16,000 adopted people and birth parents since 1991. The number of people affected by past adoption orders made in Queensland who apply for information each year is consistently high.