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Prefiling Adoption Mediation - Information sheet

(PDF version)

What is an Adoption Mediation?

Adoption Mediations provide an opportunity for people to talk about issues regarding a child or young person currently living with carers when the issue of adoption for the child or young person has been raised.

Who may be at an Adoption Mediation?

The following people will or may come to an Adoption Mediation:

  • A Mediator who is trained to conduct the meeting will always be there
  • The birth parent/s
  • The current carers
  • A case worker and/or case-worker manager
  • Lawyer/s
  • Others (eg. grandparents, siblings, other birth family members, carers of siblings)
  • Support people– this could be a friend, family member, or a professional support person (such as a counsellor)
  • An interpreter.

Participation is voluntary.

We will let you know before the mediation who will be attending.


All people present at the mediation regardless of who they are must sign a Confidentiality Agreement and follow this agreement.

The Mediation Process

All the people attending the mediation will get together usually in the same room to talk and to listen with each other and to try and reach an agreement. There will be an opportunity for people to talk privately in separate rooms with the mediator and/or their solicitor and/or support person.

If the people attending the mediation reach agreement, then that agreement will be written up and signed at the mediation.

The mediation may take up to 4 hours; all parties need to stay for four hours should this be required.

Roles of the participants

All participants are required to:

  • Cooperate with the Mediator/s
  • Be willing to negotiate
  • Consider the best interests of the child/ren being discussed
  • Act in a non-confrontational way, and
  • Listen to the views of others.


The mediator/s facilitate the mediation process and discussion. They are independent and do not act for any of the people attending the mediation.

The mediator/s will:

  • Let everyone know the purpose of the mediation and explain the process
  • Explain the rules of the mediation
  • Assist in discussions and help identify issues and ways to resolve disputes; and
  • Confirm any agreement reached or further actions agreed to and close the mediation.


  • Be familiar with any available issues
  • Actively participate and encourage their client to participate in discussion and decision making, and
  • Assist in drafting any agreements reached at the mediation.


  • Be familiar with any available issues, and
  • Actively participate in the negotiation process and encourage decision making.

Birth parents, Prospective Adoptive Parents, and other participants

  • Listen to the views of others, and
  • State their point of view as best they can.

Support people

You may have a support person present but only if Legal Aid NSW approves prior to the mediation.

The role of support people is to provide professional, practical and emotional support, it is not to make decisions for the person they are supporting or to advocate on their behalf.

Note: For assistance in completing an application for an Adoption mediation please contact: adoptions@legalaid.nsw.gov.au