Some people may find content on this website distressing. Read more
Tasmania - Legislation

Adoption of Children Act 1988 (1988 - )

Principal Act

The Adoption of Children Act 1988 made the welfare of the child the first consideration in any adoption. In addition, it contained provisions enabling adult adoptees to obtain information about themselves. The Act established the Adoption Information Service.


The Adoption of Children Act 1988 repealed the Adoption of Children Act 1968.

The new Act set up an Adoption Information Service within the Department for Community Welfare and any other approved adoption agency. It made it legal for anyone over 18 who had been adopted, and under 18 with the permission of their adoptive parents, to obtain copies of their original birth records and other information. Birth parents could seek information about their adopted children if they were over 18 years old and had given written permission. For children under 18, the adoptive parents had to give permission.

Information on adoptions arranged by the Catholic Private Adoption Agency, run by Centacare, became available to all parties connected with adoption.

The Act introduced some new protections for birth parents. Counselling before giving consent became mandatory. Consent had to be informed and the birth parent had to be informed about alternatives to adoption. Birth parents could ask to told about particular events in their child's life after they had given consent. In some situations, the permission of the ex-nuptial birth father to the adoption had to be given.

For adoptive parents, the Act provided for a new age criteria based on the differences in age between adoptive parents and children. The Act restricted the adoption of children by step-parents or relatives to particular situations.

The Director could arrange for children to be adopted from overseas by people who had been approved. He or she could also supervise and maintain guardianship over the children once they had arrived in Tasmania.


 1920 - 1968 Adoption of Children Act 1920
       1968 - 1988 Adoption of Children Act 1968
             1988 - Adoption of Children Act 1988

Related Events

Related Glossary Terms

Related Organisations



  • Department for Community Welfare: annual report for the year ended 30 June 1988, Department for Community Welfare, Hobart, 1988. Details

Online Resources

Sources used to compile this entry: Department for Community Welfare: annual report for the year ended 30 June 1988, Department for Community Welfare, Hobart, 1988; 'Tasmania: legislation', in To remove and protect: laws that changed Aboriginal lives, Australian Institute of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Studies, 2008,

Prepared by: Cate O'Neill