Alternative care options
|Alternative care options are for women who may want to continue their unplanned pregnancy but feel unable to raise a child. |
Sometimes temporary care, such as foster care, can be arranged with another family until you have adequate housing, income and support.1 It is also sometimes possible for the child to be raised by your extended family.
You can discuss these options with the Department of Human Services - Children, Youth & Families office. Call 1300 650 172 and ask to be put in touch with your regional office.
|Adoption means giving up the legal rights to parent your child.2|
|Adoption is a legal process where parents relinquish up their parental rights and responsibilities to the adoptive parents. The aim of adoption is to provide a family for a child who cannot be cared for by his or her birth family. Adoption can provide security, love and protection for the child. Adoption laws have changed since 1884 and ‘open’ adoptions are encouraged. This means that the birth mother and father have limited access to the child. It also allows information about the child to be shared between the birth and adoptive parents throughout the child’s life.|
Is adoption common?4
|The Victorian Department of Human Services (DHS) records 17 infants placed for adoption in Victoria between 2005–06. DHS found this decrease was due to:|
- improved contraception
- access to abortion
- community acceptance of single parenting
- government benefits for single parents.
|The Department of Human Services is the key contact for adoption enquiries in Victoria. A list of approved and authorised Adoption and Permanent Care Team agencies in your area can be found on the Children, Youth and Families website. They also have a comprehensive booklet and resource kit. |
You can contact the Children, Youth & Families office on 1300 650 172.
|Adoption is no longer approached in the way it once was. Research has shown that it can have a negative effect for children to not know anything about their birth family. It can be equally difficult for parents to give up their child and never again have contact with them.|
The issue of adoption raises a number of complex issues. You might wish to consider some of the questions below and discuss them in more detail with an adoption care service and/or counsellor or social worker.
|Choosing adoption means sifting through your values, beliefs and expectations about pregnancy and parenting. This means considering your thoughts about each of the options in an unplanned pregnancy and comparing them. Below are some questions women often ask themselves about adoption.6|
|How would you answer these questions?|
- What would be the main reasons I would consider adoption?
- Do I know anyone that has relinquished their child for adoption?
- Do I know anyone that has been adopted or is in permanent care?
- Do I know anyone in temporary care arrangements?
- Do I think I could continue the pregnancy and proceed with adoption arrangements after the birth?
- What do I need to do next to further make up my mind about adoption – e.g. speak to my family, speak to an adoption agency, read further information?
|1. Department of Human Services, ‘Information for Parents Considering Adoption of their Child’, <http://www.cyf.vic.gov.au/adoption-permanent-care/contacts-and-resources>, viewed 7 June 2010.|
3. Teenage Pregnancy Interest Group, ‘Young, Pregnant and Parenting’, <http://www.ypp.org.au/Adoption>, viewed 7 June 2010.
4. Department of Human Services, ‘Adoption Resource Kit’, <http://www.cyf.vic.gov.au/adoption-permanent-care/contacts-and-resources/resource-kit/statistics>, viewed January 2010.
5. Department of Human Services, ‘Adoption Resource Kit’, op.cit.
6. Children by Choice, ‘Making a decision…A Woman-centred approach to looking at pregnancy options’, Queensland, <http://www.childrenbychoice.org.au>, viewed 7 June 2010.