WA Adoption, Fostering Or Permanent Care Of Niece And Nephews?

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19 September 2014
My niece (13 years) and nephew (11 years) have been living with me for nearly 3 years. My other nephew (6 years) has also started being in my care for 6 months. Their parents are drug users, no longer together - father is now homeless and mother cannot provide a good environment for the kids. I don't want to get their parents in trouble with the law so don't want to tell child protection they use drugs.

I was just wondering how do I go about adopting, fostering or having some kind of legal permanent guardianship (e.g. adoption Australia) of the 3 children so that all paperwork to do with their schooling and medical things are under my control and I don't need the mother to sign for everything. The mother is happy to have me permanently look after the children and all the children want to live with me too. I am 31, married.


Well-Known Member
10 September 2014
You need to contact your local Department of a child Protection and be assessed like anyone else who is interested in adoption or fostering. Even though you are family the department will not automatically assign you these rights. Your local department's website will have guidelines on the process but basically you have to complete an application form, attend information workshops which can vary from 4 nights x 3 hrs to 2 x 2 day workshops, medicals completed, financials statements completed, police checks and if you have lived overseas at anytime after 18 generally Interpol and the local police of that country. Then if all of that is okay will have a home assessment of around 4 to 6 visits each 2 to 4 hours long. A report about 30 pages long is written with the assessors recommendation and this goes towards a panel for approval.

If you want to adopt you completed the above, work with the dept and a submission is submitted to the family courts under yours states local adoption act. Although you may find you cannot adopt your sisters children as the family model gets complicated, with legal ties severed between birth parents and kids, the birth mum becomes their aunt.

If you foster the dept will be very much part of your life until the kids are 18 and a lot of items will need to be passed by them for permission. Permanent guardianship the department goes to court and seeks permission for this although generally after fostering and they are certain there is very little chance of reconciliation with the birth parents.

The above is a picture of what to expect and the best place thing to do is check with the Department of Child Protection within your state and also your local adoption act.

I understand you would prefer not to disclosure the parents drug use but if you want to go down the path of guardianship, fostering, adoption there won't be much option but to disclose it. The department will be thinking about the best interests of the children.
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