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Reunion and Information Register (previously known as the Adopted Person’s Contact Register)
The purpose of the Reunion and Information Register (RIR) is to assist people who have been separated by an adoption to make contact with one another or exchange messages.
The Adopted Persons Contact Register (APCR) was first established in 1976. Its name was changed to the Reunion and Information Register (RIR) in 1990. Currently the RIR is managed by the Adoption Information Unit (AIU) of the Department of Family and Community Services (FACS).
People who are eligible to join the RIR under the Adoption Act 2000
Those with direct entitlement
- A birth parent
- An adopted parent
- An adopted person over 18
- An adopted person over 12 who has the written consent of their adoptive parents or the Secretary of FACS (Secretary).
- An adopted person over 16 who is living separately and apart from their adoptive parents.
- An adopted person under 18 whose adoptive parents are deceased, cannot be found or in the opinion of the Secretary, the adoptive parents are incapable of giving consent.
To apply to enter your name on the RIR download and complete Section 4a) of the Application to apply for adoption information form.
Interested parties without a direct entitlement
Interested parties are people who have an interest in an adopted person, birth parent or adoptive parent. For example, a brother or sister (who may or may not have been adopted, was formerly under the care of the Minister or a care leaver), grandparent, aunt, uncle, another relative, significant person or close friend to an adoptee or a birth parent.
Interested parties may request to have their name entered on the RIR. Further information may be requested from you depending on the situation.
Approval by the Secretary is required before the name of the person ‘having an interest in the adopted person or birth parent’ may be entered on the RIR. Interested parties, unlike an adopted person or birth parent, do not have a direct entitlement to join the RIR.
The Secretary must be of the opinion that entering the name will promote the welfare and best interests of the adopted person.
To apply to enter your name on the RIR download and complete Sections 4a) and b) of the Application to apply for adoption information form.
How the RIR works
The RIR is a passive means of making contact with a person from whom you have been separated from through adoption. FACS does not search for the person you may be looking for. The person must indicate their willingness to make contact by also joining the RIR.
If there is a matching registration you will be contacted by a caseworker and assisted to get in touch with the other person who is also on the RIR and seeking contact with you.
If you decide to leave a message this will be held by FACS and passed on should the other person register. Messages may be sealed or unsealed. FACS will not open any sealed messages except at your request or at the request of the other party. Sealed messages left for adopted people who are under 18 are opened. It is an offence to leave a message intended to intimidate, harass or threaten a person.
A meeting may not be possible in every case. The feelings and wishes of each person directly involved are respected and all enquiries are treated in confidence. People are encouraged to proceed slowly and to take time to consider the range of unknown factors involved in making contact with someone whose life you may not have shared for many years (if at all).
Searching for a birth relative can be very sensitive. Some adopted people may not know that they are adopted. Some birth parents may not have shared information about the adoption with other members of their family.
It is your responsibility to keep your registration up to date by advising in writing, any change of address or contact details. If FACS is unable to locate one person, as they have not advised a change of address, that person’s last known name and address may be released to the other person on the register. This will depend on the other person’s entitlement to receive information under the Act.
Making an approach (outreach)
The AIU may be able to assist a person who has placed their name on the RIR to locate a person who they wish to be reunited with, even if that person has not already registered on the RIR.
In these cases, each person’s situation is assessed individually. Decisions to offer outreach require the approval of the Secretary.
- There is no fee for a birth parent or an adopted person.
- There is a fee of $65 for other people applying to register.
- Concession rate of $35 applies for pensioners, Veteran Affairs, holders of the Health Care Card and for people formerly under the care of the Minister.