Founding partners

The Institute of Open Adoption Studies is founded on partnership between Barnardos Australia, a non-government agency that has extensive experience in the practice of open adoption, and The University of Sydney, an academic centre with a diverse, internationally renowned community of scholars, staff and students. It is hosted by the University's Sydney School of Education and Social Work, which has a longstanding interest in social policy research and implementation.

Australian Centre for Excellence in Open Adoption

The centre, operated by Barnardos Australia is a research-led best-practice institution that is currently undertaking the first Australian study into the outcomes of open adoption for more than 200 children with international collaborators. The centre will study the impact of early decision making and the best ways to ensure contact with family of origin.

The aim of the research project is to study the very long-term outcomes of open adoption of children permanently removed from their birth families because of abuse and neglect and placed permanently with a family. This retrospective study will particularly examine the impact of open adoption in which there is ongoing contact between the birth family and child.

Barnardos is one of three non-government adoption agencies in NSW. In the past 30 years Barnardos has finalised open adoptions for more than 200 children. In 2013–14, Barnardos finalised for about 13 per cent of all carer adoptions in Australia (14 per cent in NSW) and in 2014–15 Barnardos’ absolute numbers for finalised carer adoptions doubled.

Barnardos’ staff are considered national experts in adoption practice, and have been specifically requested to provide expert advice and evidence to governments, courts, and other bodies including the Wood Special Commission of Inquiry into Child Protection Services in NSW, and the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse.