Intercountry Adoptee and Family Support Service

What is the Intercountry Adoptee and Family Support Service?

The Intercountry Adoptee and Family Support Service (ICAFSS) is a grant opportunity which aims to provide free, nation‑wide intercountry adoption-specific support, including counselling, information and education, to young and adult adoptees, adoptive parents and adoptive siblings, and prospective adoptive parents.



The Intercountry Adoptee and Family Support Service (ICAFSS) is funded by the Australian Government and managed by the Department of Social Services (the department). It is funded under the Portfolio Budget Statement Outcome 2, Program 2.1 Families and Communities, Component 2.1.2 (Families and Children).

The Intercountry Adoptee and Family Support Service (ICAFSS) redesign has been informed by key themes emerging from this consultation, which indicate that the intercountry adoption community would like the redesigned ICAFSS to consider the following items:

Therapeutic Care, which includes:

  • intercountry adoption-specific counselling
  • diverse therapeutic approaches to best meet client needs
  • group work and other therapeutic care practices, including trauma-informed practice
  • emotional support throughout search and reunification.

Capacity building, which includes:

  • greater involvement of people with lived experience
  • peer support groups and activities
  • intercountry adoption specific education and training
  • practical support for search and reunification.

Promotion, awareness and access, including:

  • greater promotion and awareness of the program
  • national accessibility of the program



The Australian Government has announced a total of $4,750,000.00 (GST exclusive) over the period of the grant opportunity, from 1 July 2021 to 30 June 2026, for the Intercountry Adoptee and Family Support Service. Over this period of the grant opportunity $950,000 (GST exclusive) is
available per annum. Funding of up to $50,000 (GST exclusive) is available in the 2020-21 financial year to allow for a transition period prior to the grant activity start date.

If your organisation chooses to co-contribute to the grant funding, please include this in your project plan and where appropriate in the selection criteria.


Eligible Projects

To be eligible your grant activity must include all items of all three components listed below.

Component 1: Therapeutic Care 

Therapeutic approaches must include:

  • counselling
  • psychoeducation
  • group work
  • peer or mentorship approaches
  • case management
  • working collaboratively with other service providers to ensure that the client/s can access other supports that are not available through the ICAFSS, including through provision of a warm referral

Note: Other therapeutic approaches based on client needs can be offered, including on a costrecovery basis (for example, play, art and music therapy).

The approach to Therapeutic Care must be:

  • nationally accessible, including provision of outreach services, through both face-to-face and digital communication
  • intercountry adoption and trauma-informed
  • aware of challenges related to identity, grief and loss
  • strengths-based and culturally responsive, including understanding the impacts of racism
  • cater to adoptees and families’ different life stages, including adolescent years and adult adoptee experiences
  • competent in working with people with physical and intellectual disabilities, recognising that intercountry adoption to Australia increasingly supports people with special needs
  • evidence-informed and guided by professional best practice

The provision of Therapeutic Care must be able to:

  • address challenges commonly associated with intercountry adoption for young and adult adoptees, including personal and cultural identity, mental health, trauma, loss and grief
  • address intercountry adoptive family-related challenges, including family formation, parenting difficult behaviours, family disruption and support for siblings
  • provide ongoing education and training for prospective/adoptive parents to support children with special needs
  • provide ongoing education and training for prospective/adoptive parents to support the adoptee in their development of connection to culture and country of origin
  • provide emotional and crisis support for search and reunion, including preparation, planning and post-tracing and reunion support
  • recognise and provide appropriate crisis support or referral for adoptees and adoptive families.

Component 2: Community Capacity Building includes work to support:

  • Promotion and awareness of the ICAFSS across Australia (including regional and remote areas). This could include through direct engagement with the intercountry adoption community, use of social media platforms, video conferencing platforms and frequent communication with support groups, community organisation and public spaces. The service provider must make the details of the ICAFSS publicly available, clear and accessible.
  • Development of guidance resources on search for origins, reconnection or reunion with family of origin, including after the initial reconnection, and other intercountry adoption-specific experiences.
  • Development and coordination of intercountry adoption-informed resources for parents, schools and allied health professionals.
  • Development of education and training for practitioners, including but not limited to counsellors, psychologists, speech therapists and teachers, to be intercountry-adoption aware (a cost-recovery model may be used for delivery of training to practitioners).
  • Training and resources for adoptees and adoptive families in mentoring or peer support. Potential peers, facilitators and mentors must be appropriately trained, assessed and screened, to ensure the safety of everyone involved.

Component 3: Small Grants and Bursaries Program

The service provider will be required to manage the provision of small grants and bursaries as outlined in Appendix A of the Grant Opportunity Guidelines . The introduction of a small grants and bursaries program will allow the ICAFSS to support and address needs of the intercountry adoption community in ways that may not be possible through Therapeutic Care or Community Capacity Building.

Activities funded through small grants could include:

  • activities, events, and projects for and by the intercountry adoption community to assist with connecting with others with shared experience, including peer support, mentorship and group activities
  • developing, or expanding existing, intercountry adoption-specific community-based initiatives
  • small research projects, including multi-year projects
  • development of resources authored by those with lived experience of intercountry adoption.

Activities funded through bursaries could include:

  • practical items, for provision to adoptees only, including (but not limited to) contribution to costs associated with:
    • accessing or translation of birth documentation
    • visa application for search for origin or reunion purposes
    • applying for country-of-origin citizenship
    • access to intercountry adoption related activities for those who live in regional and remote areas.

Note: funding cannot be used on overseas travel or expenditure outside of Australia. A more extensive list of eligible activities is listed in Appendix A of the Grant Opportunity Guidelines.


Eligible Applicants

To be eligible you must be one of the following entity types:

  • Indigenous Corporation
  • Company
  • Corporate Commonwealth Entity
  • Non-Corporate Commonwealth Entity
  • Non-Corporate Commonwealth Statutory Authority
  • Commonwealth Company
  • Corporate State or Territory Entity
  • Non-corporate State or Territory Entity
  • Non-corporate State or Territory Statutory Authority
  • Local Government
  • Cooperative
  • Incorporated Association
  • Statutory Entity
  • Partnership
  • Unincorporated Association.

Applications from consortia are acceptable, as long as you have a lead applicant who is solely accountable to the Commonwealth for the delivery of grant activities and is an eligible entity as per the list above. Eligible organisations can form a consortia with ineligible organisations.



Applications close 13 November 2020.


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