Dialog Box


Adoption and Permanent Care

CatholicCare’s Adoption and Permanent Care Program is a state-wide service funded by the Victorian Department of Health and Human Services. The program assists both parents considering to place their child for adoption and families seeking to become adoptive and permanent care parents.

This program is child-focused and aims to meet every child’s needs in the best possible way. We also have an Adoption Information Service providing information about past adoptions arranged by our agency.

What is adoption?

Adoption is the long-term care of a child aged 0-12 months who has been relinquished by their natural parents. When a child is adopted, the adoptive parents receive full parental rights, and so the child’s birth certificate is changed to reflect the child as having been born to the adoptive parents.

Children in adoptive care are entitled ongoing contact with their natural parents up to four times a year, and natural parents are entitled to information exchange of photos and updates on the progress of their child.

What is permanent care?

Permanent care is the long-term care of a child aged 0-12 years, where they are in need of stability and consistency. Children placed in permanent care have been removed from the care of their natural parents due to significant safety concerns of the child.

When a child is placed in permanent care, their birth certificate will not be changed and they will keep the surname of their natural parents. Children in permanent care are entitled ongoing contact with their natural parents as well as information exchange of photos and updates on the progress of the child.

Permanent care is only available in Victoria, and may be considered the equivalent of an adoption order for older children in other states of Australia.

Is foster care different?

Foster care is the temporary care of a child who cannot live with their natural parents for a range of reasons, whether voluntary or court ordered. This temporary care can mean an overnight stay or care ranging up to or longer than a month. 

CatholicCare does not have a foster care program, but we work with children in foster care who are in need of long-term care.

Our Adoption Program

Our adoption program arranges placements of infants aged up to 12 months who have been voluntarily relinquished for adoption.

Through granting of an Adoption Order, the adopted child legally assumes all rights and privileges as a birth child, including the right to inheritance. A new birth certificate is also issued. The child’s background however is always acknowledged and ongoing contact with their birth family is encouraged.

If you are a birth parent considering placing your child for adoption:

  • You are welcome to contact us regardless of where you live in Victoria – our social workers can travel to meet you at your place of residence
  • You can rest assured we will respect your cultural background and your needs and wishes throughout the adoption process
  • We will provide you with information needed to understand the adoption process
  • We will encourage you to explore all options for care of your child and help you make an informed decision about their future
  • We will offer counselling and support around contact and information exchange with the adoptive family.

If you are a couple considering becoming adoptive parents:

  • You are welcome to contact us, regardless of where you live in Victoria
  • We run information and training sessions in cooperation with the Department of Health & Human Services
  • We will assess your adoption application, so you can become accredited for adoption
  • We will provide full support with parenting, contact and any issues after your child has been placed with you
  • Our support can continue after the Adoption Order has been granted, depending on the circumstances.

Read our fact sheet for prospective parents 

Adoption Information Service

Our Adoption Information Service provides information, records release, search, outreach and mediation services in relation to past adoptions arranged by CatholicCare and our predecessors Centacare Catholic Family Services and Catholic Family Welfare Bureau.

You are welcome to contact us to enquire about information on a child adopted from the St Joseph’s Foundling Hospital/St Joseph’s Babies Home in Broadmeadows.

Our Permanent Care Program

Permanent Care provides a stable and secure permanent placement for children aged up to 12 years when the Children’s Court has ordered that a child cannot live with their biological family.

Providing a vulnerable child with ongoing love and stability, watching them grow and overcome their initial difficulties and make developmental gains is a very rewarding experience.

The program welcomes applications from both single people and couples who reside permanently in Victoria.

If you wish to become a permanent care parent, please contact us. We provide:

  • Information and training sessions
  • Assessment of your application and accreditation for permanent care
  • Support during transition of the child to your family, help and advice with parenting issues, support around contact with the birth family and any other issues
  • Extended support after the Permanent Care Order has been granted, if required.


Our Adoption and Permanent care service is offered state-wide; we can work with clients and agencies anywhere in Victoria.


Stronger families and communities

Every day our clients search for support, and we want to be there for them to help break the cycle of disadvantage, and help them achieve 'life to the full'.