Open Adoption Series


The Open Adoption Series was developed by ACWA’s Best Practice Unit and FACS following a forum on Open Adoption in May 2015. This resource is designed to help the OOHC sector build knowledge of past and present adoption practice, facilitate discussion and influence culture change.

How to use this resource

We encourage you to show these resources at team meetings to encourage discussion and develop understanding of good open adoption practice that supports children, where appropriate, to achieve permanency through open adoption.

The session outlines below suggest ways that you can guide team discussion about open adoption using the resources available online.

Session 1 - The importance of permanence

Read the OOHC Adoption Fact Sheet (15 mins)

As a group, work through self-reflection prompt questions that are contained within the fact sheet as you go. Look at the boxed quotes and consider how much they reflect your experience of the adoption process.

If you would like to explore the issues in more depth, read the Background and Evidence Base Fact Sheet.

Session 2 - The adoption journey

Read the stories from the Journeys to Permanency Guide (20 mins)

Use one of the stories as a case study. Read through the story as a group then discuss how it relates to the cases within your own agency.

Session 3 – Contact

Read the slides from the Contact and Open Adoption Presentation (30 mins)

As a group, work through the presentation and use the self-reflection prompt questions as you go.

TIP: Download the presentation and view it in slideshow mode.

If you would like to explore the issues in more depth, read the Contact and Open Adoption background sheet.

Session 4 – The legal process

Watch an introduction video Supreme Court and Open Adoption (10 mins)

The Honourable Justice P L G Brereton AM RFD, Judge of the Supreme Court of NSW talks about open adoption in this video. He offers valuable insight for carers who may be considering open adoption as well as caseworkers involved in this area of practice.

Watch Preparing Best Evidence video (45 mins)

Nicole Hailstone from the NSW Crown Solicitor's Office provides examples of what is considered best evidence in the Supreme Court. Note down the key tips that Nicole outlines for staff when preparing evidence and drafting documentation.

If you would like some more information, read the Legal Requirements for Adoption Proceedings slides and watch the Drafting Best Evidence video.

Session 5 – How has adoption practice changed?

Reflect on key questions (20 mins)

Pose the following questions as a group:

  • What is your reaction to the word adoption?
  • Does this change when we change this to open adoption?
  • What does open and honest adoption practice look like?
  • What experience of adoption (past and current) do we have as individuals, a team, an organisation? How does this impact our casework practice?

If you would like to explore the issues in more depth, watch the History of Adoption in NSW video.

Session 6 – Life Story Work and Identity

Watch the Identity video (30 mins)

Four practitioners reflect on the importance of identity and life story work through the open adoption process and ongoingly.

Pick out five concepts from the video that relate to your practice to discuss with your team.