The Adoption of Children Act 1968 made it mandatory for an assessment of potential adoptive parents to be undertaken. The Act also made it illegal for private individuals or unauthorised organisations to organise adoptions. It became mandatory for the government to approve welfare agencies that organised adoptions. The only approved agency in Tasmania was the Catholic Family Welfare Bureau (which became Centacare in 1977).
With the implementation of the Adoption of Children Act 1968 in Tasmania, practice changed significantly. Under the previous legislation, the assessment of adoptive applicants had not been required. After the passage of the 1968 Act, in most cases, where a general consent was signed, the Director of the Social Welfare Department became the guardian under section 35 of the Child Welfare Act 1960. This remained in place until the Adoption Order was finalised. In extremely rare cases, where the adoption was of a 'known child', this transfer of guardianship may not have occurred.
Section 11 of the 1968 legislation enacted the principle that the welfare and interests of the child must be the paramount consideration in approving adoptions.
The Act also made private adoptions illegal. It formalised the transfer of responsibility for adoptions to the Department of Social Welfare and authorised adoption agencies. There was only ever one of these, the Catholic Private Adoption Agency, run by the Catholic Family Welfare Bureau, later Centacare.
Sources used to compile this entry: Joint Select Committee, Parliament of Tasmania, Adoption and Related Services 1950-1988, 1999, https://web.archive.org/web/20210306200642/https://www.parliament.tas.gov.au/Ctee/reports/adopt.pdf. p.21.; Ombudsman Tasmania, Listen to the children: Review of claims of abuse from adults in state care as children, Office of the Ombudsman, Tasmania, Hobart, November 2004. Also available at https://nla.gov.au/nla.obj-1382077009/view. p.53..
Prepared by: Cate O'Neill
Created: 12 January 2011, Last modified: 12 February 2019