Interested in open adoption in Australia?

Adopt with Barnardos. Open adoption gives children in foster care a new beginning. You can provide them with safety and stability for life.

Start your parenting journey with us

Many people believe the only way to adopt a child in Australia is via intercountry adoption. However, this is not the case. There are thousands of children in foster care in Australia who need a safe and secure family in which to grow and thrive by belonging to a family for life through local adoption.

Barnardos is currently looking for prospective adoptive parents in NSW and ACT to welcome vulnerable young children aged 5-12 years into their hearts and homes. Many of these children also have brothers and sisters in the same age range and we believe siblings should be kept together wherever possible.

We welcome people of all backgrounds and cultures. You may be a single person, a couple, already have a biological child or children, or be a member of the LGBTQIA community – it doesn’t matter, as long as you (and any other adult household members) meet our eligibility criteria to foster and then adopt a child. In most cases, the process to adopt a foster child or foster children in your care takes between one and two years.
Barnardos acknowledges that adoption is culturally inappropriate for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children.

Open adoption starts with you becoming a foster carer

Adoption gave three young Australian children
in foster care a permanent home.

Play Video

Frazier, Preston and Anabella's adoption story


Free information events

To help you better understand what’s involved in local adoption and fostering, Barnardos Australia holds free information events and education sessions where you can ask any questions about the foster-to-adopt process. Come along to an event near you, it’s an informal and friendly way to find out more about our adoption services – we’d love to meet you!

Events cover the following topics:

What is foster care?


What is open adoption?

70 all

Steps involved

Roles and responsibilities

Support and training

Hear what it's like from
other families

*We advise that you seek alternate care arrangements for your children if attending an information event in person due to the nature of the event and the information covered. We apologise for any inconvenience caused however we also hold online events in the event you cannot attend a local one.


Our adoptive families share their amazing journeys

Play Video

Meet Matt and Bernie

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Meet Sharon and Chris

Play Video

Meet Ronnie and Paul


Research and reports

Outcomes of Open Adoption Executive Summary

A full executive summary of the research on Outcomes of Open adoption in Australia, including all key findings

Outcomes of Open Adoption from Care book

An Australian Contribution to an International Debate
Lyn Moggah
Play Video about Lyn Moggah

Barnardos launches groundbreaking
adoption research


Open adoption information events

13th September 2023
5:30pm - 7pm

Club Mudgee, 99 Mortimer St, Mudgee

Join us at this free event to learn more about foster care and open adoption.

Hear from event host My Forever Family NSW, a representative from the Department of Communities and Justice NSW, and meet with local agencies (including Barnardos). A local carer will also be sharing their story.


21st September 2023
7pm - 8pm

Live in southwest Sydney and want to learn more about foster care and open adoption? Join us at this free online information session.

Hear from event host My Forever Family NSW, a representative from the Department of Communities and Justice NSW, and meet with local agencies (including Barnardos). A local carer will also be sharing their story.


NAIDOC Week 2023 Event cover

Warrawong NAIDOC Family Fun Day

NAIDOC Family Fun Day returns to Warrawong and is bigger and better than ever! Now on Tuesday 26 September 2023, 10am-1pm, this time in a new location – Darcy Wentworth Park in Warrawong.

Information events coming soon.

Open Adoption FAQs

For children whom the court has ruled cannot safely return home, open adoption provides security and belonging for life. The adopted child becomes a legal member of the adoptive family through a formal court process, whilst still maintaining contact with their birth family which helps them to form a healthy sense of identity.

Open adoption gives children who cannot live with their birth parents the opportunity for a secure future and a family for life. Having “openness” around their adoption means children know who they are and where they come from through birth family connection. This openness, knowledge, and understanding help adopted children to form a healthy sense of identity and belonging, which is essential for their emotional, intellectual, and physical development. Open adoption also means the child is no longer part of the foster care system.

The frequency of contact is decided by the court and depends on the age of the child and their relationship with their birth families. Contact usually includes face-to-face visits, letters, telephone and video calls, emails, photos, and cards.

No. There are no legal expenses, assessment expenses, or administration costs for carers wanting to become an adoptive parent. Our in-house legal team manages the adoption process from start to finish.

Depending on your financial situation, ongoing carer allowance and financial support may be available subject to Australian government policy.

No, every child’s family circumstances are different and so not all children in foster care are suitable for adoption. We also acknowledge that adoption is culturally inappropriate for Aboriginal and Torres Strait children.

Yes. We currently have children aged 5-12 and groups of two or more siblings in temporary care arrangements who desperately want and need a forever family.

We accept applications from prospective adoptive parents in the Sydney metropolitan area, Illawarra and Shoalhaven, and Hunter and Central Coast areas.

People tend to think it’s impossible to adopt in Australia and the only solution for people wanting to adopt is to adopt from overseas, however this is not the case!

Open adoption from foster care in NSW and ACT is a viable path for people wanting to build their family. There are many children in foster care who are suitable for adoption. 

The process of adoption is very involved and can take approximately two years or more from the time a family decides to adopt, to the time when an adoption is finalised.

Enquire about our adoption process