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General Adoption Information

In Nova Scotia, there are several types of adoptions families can pursue:

  • Public or “Agency” adoption – there are two types of agency adoptions:
    ◦ Children in Care and Custody
    ◦ Section 68 Agreement (Voluntary Placement of Child for Adoption)
  • Private Interprovincial Adoptions
  • Private Relative Adoption
  • International Adoption

An ‘Agency’ or public adoption in Nova Scotia is arranged through an Agency or District Office of the Department of Community Services. When it’s determined through the court system that a birth family is unable to meet the needs of a child on a permanent basis, the Agency or District office becomes the child’s guardian. The child can then be placed for adoption. The majority of these children have special needs but range in age from infant to 16 years old.

The other type of ‘public’ adoption is called a “voluntary” or “direct placement” adoption. In this situation, a birth mother voluntarily places her child with a Child Placing Agency, Child Welfare Agency or District Office of the Department of Community Services for the purpose of adoption. Or, in some cases, the birth mother may already know of a family to adopt her child.

Private interprovincial adoptions are complex as adoption laws vary from province to province. Before entering into an arrangement with a family from another province, the parties involved should contact their local Children’s Services agency and/or a lawyer.

A private relative adoption is when a birth relative comes forward and adopts the child. There is no child welfare involved in this type of adoption.

Inter-country or international adoption is another option for many Nova Scotia families. International adoptions are complex, time consuming and expensive but there are many countries and programs.

Province Notes

For more information about adoption in Nova Scotia, visit the web site of the Department of Community Services


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