Projects Social Services

Review of the Intercountry Adoption Australia Support Service

Projects Social Services

Review of the Intercountry Adoption Australia Support Service

Projects Social Services

Review of the Intercountry Adoption Australia Support Service

  • Services

    Evaluation & Advisory

  • Status


  • Client

    Department of Social Services

  • Jurisdiction


Intercountry Adoption Australia (IAA) provides a national support service and a central point of contact for people at all stages of the intercountry adoption process.

In 2015, the then Prime Minister announced the establishment of the IAA support service as part of the Australian Government’s overall Intercountry Adoption reform program.  The IAA was launched on May 2015 to provide:

  • A free 1800 information line, operated by qualified social workers who can guide people through the intercountry adoption process by providing general support, information and referrals to support services, and to Commonwealth, state and territory governments. The information line is open from 9am to 5pm, Monday to Friday.
  • A national website which provides an overview of the intercountry adoption process, partner countries, things to consider when adopting, access to state or territory government information, and links to support services.

It is designed to complement existing state and territory government support services.  Eligibility rules for adoptions and processing of applications from prospective adoptive parents continue to be the responsibility of state and territory governments.

The Australian Institute of Health and Welfare reports that for 2014-15:

  • 83 children (all under 10) were adopted from overseas countries – from Taiwan (36%), Philippines (27%), Thailand (16%), other Asian countries (15%), South/Central American (6%)
  • In total 292 children were adopted (83 overseas + 209 domestic).

Review of the IAA support service

AHA was engaged to conduct an independent review of the IAA support service, which is operated by the Department of Social Services (DSS).  The review assessed whether the service was implemented as intended and whether it was achieving, or was likely to achieve, its intended outcomes:

  • Prospective adoptive parents and adoptive parents:
    • Have access to information and referral to support services
    • Experiences of the intercountry adoption process are positive
  • The service informs intercountry adoption policies and practices.

The review involved synthesis of existing available data as well as collection and analysis of new information.  Information collection methods included:

  • Survey of adoptive parents and prospective adoptive parents – including those who had used the IAA support service and those who had not
  • National telephone consultations to understand clients’ experiences of the IAA support service
  • Telephone consultations with stakeholders in identified key groups – including representatives from state/territory government central authorities, DSS, IAA, Attorney General’s Department, Department of Immigration and Border Protection, peak bodies, and academics.
In 2014-15, a total of 292 children were adopted in Australia. Almost one-third - 83 children, all under 10 years of age - were born overseas.