Who BDM can help and how

BDM can provide adoption related information where:

  • A person’s Adoption Order was made under Victorian law, or
  • The adopted person was born in Victoria.

Our authority to provide information to people affected by adoption, and the type of information that BDM can provide, is set out in the Adoption Act 1984. The information BDM can provide depends on:

  1. Who is applying, and
  2. Whether the applicant has met the legal requirements.

Counselling requirement

All applicants* for adoption related information must attend counselling before BDM can release adoption-related information. For counselling contact approved counsellors through Approved Adoption Information Services.

*Exception: counselling is not required if BDM is satisfied that the adopted person, and any other person referred to in the adopted person’s original birth certificate, already know each other’s identity.

Approved Adoption Information Services

Family Information Network and Discovery (FIND)

(03) 8608 5700 or 1300 769 926
Level 20, 570 Bourke Street
Melbourne VIC 3000

Anglicare Victoria

Rowena Robinson
Rowena.robinson@anglicarevic.org.au (External link)
(03) 9396 7400
41 Somerville Road, Yarraville VIC 3013

Catholic Care

Marina Pavlovic-Cetkovic
Marina.Pavlovic-Cetkovic@ccam.org.au (External link)
(03) 9689 3888
3 Wingfield Street, Footscray VIC 3011

Connections

Matthew Smith
Matthew.smith@connections.org.au (External link)
(03) 9521 5666
PO Box 343 Prahran, Windsor VIC 3181

Who can apply for what information

This section sets out:

  • Who is eligible to apply for adoption related information
  • The information they can access
  • The requirements that need to be met.

In all cases, BDM can provide the information only if it is recorded on our Registers.

1) If the applicant is an adopted person under eighteen years old

Apply directly to an Approved Adoption Information Service.

2) If the applicant is an adopted person aged 18 years or older

Adult adopted people should apply directly to an Approved Adoption Information Service for their original birth certificate, court records and/or adoption records from the agency involved in arranging the adoption.

Nature of the information Requirements for the application

Copies of the following certificates of natural parents:

  • Birth certificates
  • Marriage certificates
  • Death certificates.
  • Certificate of interview from an Approved Adoption Information Service, or from a relevant “authority” from an interstate service if the adoption occurred interstate and the birth was in Victoria
  • Application form
  • Three forms of proof of identity
  • Payment (standard certificate fee)

3) If the applicant (of any age) was born and adopted in Victoria, or is an adoptive parent, and the adoption was made in favour of:

  1. A spouse* of the adopted person’s natural parent, or
  2. A person who, or whose spouse, is a relative of the adopted person, or
  3. Two persons, at least one of whom is a relative of the adopted person.

* ”Spouse” in this section includes de facto spouses.

Information available Requirements for the application
Original birth certificate

Either

  • A certificate of interview from an Approved Adoption Information Service

Or

  • Evidence that the content of the birth certificate is already known to the applicant;
  • Application form
  • Three forms of proof of identity and
  • Payment of standard certificate fee.

4) If the applicant is a natural parent of an adopted person

A ‘natural parent’, in relation to an adopted person, means a person whose name is entered in the child’s birth registration record as a parent of the child.

Nature of the information Requirements for the application
Original birth certificate (marked ‘adopted’)
  • Application form
  • Three forms of proof of identity
  • Payment of standard certificate fee

(Please note: if the adopted person was born outside Victoria, this application should be submitted to the Secretary of the Victorian Department of Health and Human Services).

Evidence of natural fatherhood

A man who is not listed in the child’s birth registration must demonstrate that he is a natural parent of the adopted person in one of the following ways:

  • Providing a certified copy of a declaration of paternity (as per s.10 of the Status of Children Act 1974); or
  • Submitting a certified copy of an order made against him regarding the adopted person under the Maintenance Act 1965; or
  • Showing evidence of having been acknowledged as the adopted person’s father in a document filed with the Registrar under the Status of Children Act 1974.

Where there is no evidence that contradicts the applicant’s claim to be the adopted person’s natural father, he may demonstrate that he is the adopted person’s natural father by providing evidence to the Secretary of the Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) that:

  • An order has been made outside Victoria that is evidence (as defined by s.8(5) of the Status of Children Act 1974) that he is the father of the adopted person; or
  • He has been liable for maintenance of the adopted person under a Family Court Order; or
  • He has been granted access to or custody or guardianship of the adopted person by a Family Court Order; or
  • He has satisfied the Secretary of the Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) that there is prima facie (that is, self-evident) evidence that he is the father of the adopted person.* This assessment is undertaken by FIND.

5) If the applicant is an adult child of an adopted person

Information available Requirements for the application

The adopted person’s:

  • Original birth certificate
  • Marriage certificate
  • Registered domestic relationship certificate
  • Death certificate
  • A certificate of interview from an Approved Adoption Information Service for identifying information (this will depend on the adopted person providing consent)
  • Application form
  • Three forms of proof of identity and
  • Payment of standard certificate fee

6) If the applicant is a natural relative of an adopted person

Natural relatives* or adult children of an adopted person should apply directly to an Approved Adoption Information Service for adoption related information.

*A ‘natural relative’ of an adopted person is defined by the Adoption Act as a grandparent, sister, brother, uncle or aunt of the adopted person, where the relationship is “of the whole blood or half blood”).

7) If the applicant is a parent seeking information about their adopted child’s natural parent/s

Parents who wish to apply for non-identifying and/or identifying information about the natural parent/s of their adopted child should apply directly to an Approved Adoption Information Service. The Approved Adoption Information Service will assess the application further.

8) If the applicant is a person who does not fit any of the above categories

Any other person may make an application to the County Court for information about an adopted person.