The process to adopt or foster can already be long and sometimes difficult. Having a health condition is also not easy. How does a health condition impact on the ability to foster or adopt a child?

Improvements in the diagnosis and treatment of patients with cancer, chronic illness or disability has led to significant improvements in survival rate, and subsequent quality of life. Yet, for many patients a diagnosis and treatment can affect their fertility and reproductive health or their desire to have a child. For them especially, adoption and foster care are non-biological options for having children or growing their family.

Whilst the foster care and adoption system is well established in Australia, little is known about the fostering rates amongst people with a health condition. There has also been no investigation that covers their thoughts and perceptions, and the specific barriers that may arise for them to adoption and fostering. The Kids Cancer Centre at Sydney Children’s Hospital is conducting a nation-wide research study titled: Access and Barriers to Fostering and Adoption in Patients with Cancer, Chronic Health Conditions or a Disability.

If you would like more information about this study or would like to be involved as a participant, then please contact

This research has been approved by the South Eastern Sydney Local Health District Human Research Committee and therefore has strict privacy and confidentiality requirements.


Recent changes to the Care and Protection Act now makes it easier for foster carers to adopt children in their care. While the process may be easier, there are a number of considerations that foster carers need to weigh up if they decide to go down this path. Have you thought about these issues? Have you pursued adoption from foster care?

Open Adoption: adoption is a legal process that transfers rights and responsibilities of parenthood from the child’s birth parents to the adoptive parents. An open adoption is one that states how birth parents are still to be involved in the child’s life after the legal changes are passed.

The Institute of Open Adoption Studies is interested in hearing from you, as a foster carer, about what may influence your decision to transition from fostering to adopting a child or children in your care.

The Institute – a joint venture between the University of Sydney and Barnardos Australia – is a publicly funded independent research centre set up to inform and guide good practice in the area of Open Adoption.

A research team for the Institute will be conducting focus groups in various parts of NSW in the next few months. The aim of this research is to ensure that the views and concerns of foster carers are clearly understood and taken into account in foster care and open adoption practices.

You may be sent information about these focus groups via your foster care support agency, or you can view it here. You are invited to look at this information and consider whether you would like to attend. We know that foster carers live busy lives and have many demands on your time, so the team will endeavour to hold the focus group at convenient locations and times. They will also offer child minding so you can attend.

This research has been approved by the University of Sydney’s Human Research Ethics Committee and is subject to strict privacy and confidentiality requirements.

If you would like more information about this research or the Institute of Open Adoption Studies go to the website or send an email to