Knowledge and Resource Hub
07 January 2019

Open adoption of children in NSW out-of-home care: General public perceptions and motivation

This report presents the findings of a survey of 1,000 NSW residents exploring  perceptions, motivations, and barriers to adopting children from out-of-home care, particularly those in foster care. The majority of respondents revealed a high level of awareness of foster care and an understanding that children can be adopted from foster care (between 80-90% of respondents). More than half of the respondents had never thought about adoption (60% of respondents) and half (50%) thought it was unlikely that they would consider adopting a child now or in the future. There was a lack of understanding about open adoption as practiced in NSW. Few respondents were aware of what open adoption was, what the application process involved and the availability of financial and non-financial post-adoption support. There was a view that more people would be encouraged to adopt a child if the application process was simpler and there was better information about the process. Nearly a third of respondents would be encouraged to adopt a child from foster care if there was financial support to meet the child’s needs, and almost a third of respondents would be encouraged to adopt if there were support services available for adoptive parents. Among the concerns about adoption from foster care expressed by respondents was the misconception that they would have to meet the legal cost for an adoption. Almost a quarter of respondents were worried that birth parents could get their child or children back in an open adoption.