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 Commonwealth, state and territory central authorities

Each country that signs the Hague Convention on Protection of Children and Co-operation in Respect of Intercountry Adoption is required to have a central authority to implement its standards.

The Department of Social Services (DSS) is now the Commonwealth Central Authority for intercountry adoption under the Hague Convention. There are also central authorities in each state and territory.

The roles and responsibilities of the Australian Government and the states and territories are set out in the Commonwealth-State Agreement for the Continued Operation of Australia's Intercountry Adoption Program.

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Australian Government responsibilities

As the Australian Government department responsible for intercountry adoption matters, DSS:

  • enables the performance of Australia's responsibilities under the Hague Convention
  • manages and reviews existing overseas adoption programs
  • establishes any new overseas adoption programs where appropriate
  • provides national leadership and coordination, and
  • develops national policy on intercountry adoption with states and territories.

DSS can be contacted at info@intercountryadoption.gov.au.

State and territory responsibilities

The responsibilities of the states and territories are to:

  • prepare and support prospective adoptive parents for intercountry adoptions
  • assess adoption applications
  • provide advice and assistance about procedural aspects of programs
  • provide post-placement support and supervision, and
  • function as state and territory central authorities under the Hague Convention.

Further information about the intercountry adoption application process is available on the Intercountry Adoption Australia website, including contact details for each of the state and territory central authorities.

Central authorities' meetings

The Commonwealth, state and territory central authorities meet regularly to discuss intercountry adoption. The communiqués for the latest meetings are available on the DSS website.