Do you want to know how much to adopt a child in New South Wales? This article will discuss adoption costs of the different types of adoption in Australia.

Adoption is a legal process that creates a parent-child relationship between the adoptive parents and the adopted child. But adoption is also so much more than that. It is a bond of love and commitment that can last a lifetime.

Thus,  adopting a child is a significant decision that requires careful consideration, planning, and financial preparation. One of the factors that prospective adoptive parents need to take into account is the cost of adoption.

In NSW, the  cost of adoption varies depending on the type of adoption and the circumstances of the child.

How Much to Adopt a Child: Local Adoption Costs

Local adoption refers to the adoption of a child who is a permanent resident of Australia. According to the NSW Government, the approximate adoption cost for local adoptions in NSW can exceed $3,000. This cost covers various expenses, such as:

  • legal fees, 
  • medical examinations, and 
  • background checks. 

The local adoption and permanent care program identifies birth families for:

  • Children whose biological parent(s) willingly decide to adopt their child/children. These youngsters come from a range of backgrounds in terms of culture, race, and society where a family may have had psychological, social, or health problems in the past. The youngsters are primarily 0 to 2 years old. However, older children are often accepted as referrals for up to five years, but this is unusual.
  • Children who need long-term care and who fall under the Minister for Family and Community Services' ( FACS') parental responsibility. This is because the children cannot stay in their parents' or relatives' custody. The kids range in age from 0 to 5 years old, and some of them can be siblings. Some of these kids may eventually be adopted by their long-term caregivers as part of the care plan.

For more information, you can also read our factsheet on adoption below.

Adoption factsheet. Download

How Much to Adopt a Child: Inter-country Adoption Costs

Inter-country adoption involves adopting a child from another country. This type of adoption costs approximately AUD 10,000. In addition to the costs associated with local adoption, inter-country adoption involves additional expenses such as:

  • airfares, 
  • visa and immigration fees, and 
  • travel and accommodation costs. 

Here are the other costs to consider when you want to pursue an inter-country adoption:

Type of fee Stage First application Second and subsequent applications
Information stage Information and expression of interest AUD 640 No charge
Assessment Application and assessment AUD 4,260 AUD 2,100
Allocation Allocation AUD 4,800 AUD 4,800

Moreover,  inter-country adoption can be expensive because there may also be  additional fees that you may need to incur in the form of charges:

  • levied by government departments, consulates, and businesses within Australia for costs relating to visas,
  • imposed by overseas authorities,
  • for travel, accommodation, and living costs, related to going to the overseas country to be placed with their child.

Intercountry Adoption Agency

The Department of Communities and Justice (DCJ) is currently the only agency in NSW that can arrange an inter-country adoption. In Australia, you can be eligible to adopt a child from one of the country's partner countries:

  • Bulgaria
  • Chile
  • China
  • Colombia
  • Hong Kong
  • India
  • Latvia
  • Poland
  • South Africa
  • South Korea
  • Sri Lanka
  • Taiwan
  • Thailand

Your state and territory central authority ( STCA) receives adoption applications, determines eligibility, and offers adoption-related assistance to people considering adoption.

How Much to Adopt a Child: A Step-by-step Guide

Aside from knowing how much to adopt a child, here is a step-by-step  process for adopting a child in NSW:

  1. Initial Enquiry. The first step is to make an initial  enquiry with the NSW Department of Communities and Justice ( DCJ) or an accredited adoption service provider. For more information and support, you may contact the Department at 02 9716 3003 or email them at
  2. Expression of Interest. Prospective adoptive parents need to submit an Expression of Interest (EOI) form to be included in the adoption programs. 
  3. Preparation for Adoption Seminar. After submitting the EOI form, prospective adoptive parents need to attend a Preparation for Adoption  Seminar. This seminar provides information about the adoption process, the legal requirements, and the support available to adoptive families.
  4. Assessment Process. The assessment process involves a series of interviews, home visits, and background checks to determine the suitability of the prospective adoptive parents. The assessment reflects the legislative requirements of the  NSW Adoption Act 2000, and identified predictive placement risk and success factors from adoption research. 

Additional Steps

  1. Matching Process. Once the assessment is complete, the DCJ or an accredited adoption service provider will work to match the prospective adoptive parents with a child who is in need of a permanent home.
  2. Placement. After a match is made, the child will be placed with the prospective adoptive parents. The placement is usually for a trial period of six to twelve months, during which the child and the adoptive family get to know each other.
  3. Finalisation. If the placement is successful, the DCJ will proceed to finalise the adoption about six to nine months after the child's placement. In NSW, the Supreme Court is responsible for effecting adoption orders. 

Adoption Services or a recognised adoption service provider files the application with the court in local adoption cases. Inter-country adoption applicants may draft the application themselves or hire a private solicitor if it is necessary to file an application to the Supreme Court. The Supreme Court transmits a copy of the adoption order to DCJ when it is made in NSW.

Foster Care Adoption

In NSW, foster care adoption is a type of local adoption where the foster carer adopts a child in their care. According to the NSW Government, there is no cost associated with foster care adoption in NSW. Here are some key points to keep in mind about foster care adoption in NSW:

  • Foster care adoption is a type of local adoption where the foster carer adopts a child in their care.
  • Foster carers who wish to adopt a child in their care need to meet the same eligibility criteria as other prospective adoptive parents. They need to be an adult who is available and able to provide for the child until they turn 18.
  • This type of adoption is a permanent arrangement that transfers all the legal parenting rights and responsibilities from the child's birth parents (or anyone with  parental responsibility  for the child) to the adoptive parents.

Start Your Adoption Process Today

A lawyer can be a valuable resource for prospective adoptive parents in NSW, Australia. JB Solicitor's experienced  family lawyers can provide more information regarding how much to adopt a child in NSW, legal advice on the adoption process, the legal requirements, and the rights and responsibilities of the adoptive parents. We can also advise on the legal implications of adoption, such as inheritance and succession issues.

We can also provide other legal services such as:

  • Representation
  • Document preparation
  • Mediation between the adoptive parent or parents and birth family if needed
  • Step-parent adoption.
  • Domestic adoption or international adoption

The content of this article is intended to provide a general guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought about your specific circumstances.