In the news today it has been reported that some families are being turned away from adopting kids because they are ‘too fat’.

The Adopt Change ‘Barriers to Adoption’ research has uncovered a parent’s body mass index (BMI) as one of the many hurdles faced by individuals who are keen to adopt a child in Australia.

An overweight prospective parent is most certain to have their application tossed aside by the authorities despite being in good health, the Herald Sun reports. 

As a result, children in need of a stable home have no choice but to be move from one foster home to another.

The Australian Institute of Health and Welfare states that more than 30,000 children who have been separated from their biological parents for the last two years are in desperate need of a permanent home.

The number of children adopted last year was the lowest on record standing at 196 children which was five percent lower than what was recorded in 2015, the newspaper reports.

The research revealed a total of 83 percent of the 1053 people surveyed said they experience various hurdles when deciding on adopting a child.

Other complaints include a five year wait to have their application  approved and minimal support from the relevant authorities.

Adopt Change CEO Renée Carter labeled the BMI requirement as a ‘barrier’ and ‘bizarre’.

‘The current system is broken and we need urgent change in order to provide these children with a more permanent and supportive environment, rather than barriers to belonging,’ she told the newspaper.

Seriously? What does weight have to do with a loving home?

We reported previously on a woman who claimed she has been told she was too fat to foster. Read that story HERE. 

Share your comments below


  • I assume being originally reported in the Herald Sun indicates that this adoption rule is based in Victoria. (Adoption is managed at a State and Territory level.) However I wonder if and what the exact provisions are for adoption of children in State care in Victoria?

    In order for Australia to meet WHO standards, there must be provision for children to return to their biological parents of there is a chance their parents ‘clean up’ whatever led to their children’s removal. If that is possible, the children must be left in State care and not be adopted irrespective of jurisdiction.

    Here, in South Australia, there is no adoption provisions at all for kids in State care, even for children who are deemed Guardian of the Minister until age 18. None of these children in my state are eligible to find the security of a ‘forever home’. This is something that breaks my heart.

    With rules about adoption so restrictive around children removed from State care, it then leaves it to the few people who give birth and voluntarily put it up for adoption. These are very few these days, in Australia, and couples applying could wait decades and still not have the opportunity as they hit age restrictions also.

    This leaves international adoption which is also prescriptive and is subject to arrangements between our government and other countries too.

    I think it’s time to review adoption in Australia with a view to implement that which is in the best interest of the child.

    But perhaps also foster care requires review also. A long term foster brother was removed from our family after another child’s false allegations (to get out of the expectation of chores). Even after proving the accusation to be impossible our long term brother was not returned. This destabilization changed his life forever in ways I wouldn’t wish on anyone. Thankfully we have reconnected but he has had to find his own way through what life has thrown at him.

    We, as a society, need to do better by these kids. We need to force this onto each State and Territory’s political agenda.

    Picture: My foster and I, 2001.


  • You’d think getting them into a loving family would be better than moving them from one place to another.


  • Can sort of understand where this comes from, but if you really want to adopt, then become a foster parent with Bernardos or similar. My friend adopted three children by first fostering them.


  • I have mixed feelings about this. While I wouldn’t want a child going to a family that eats take away all the time, don’t exercise and live an unhealthy lifestyle, I am also of the opinion that a home with love in it, even if the lifestyle isn’t the best, is still better than no home at all.


  • This sounds like a very judgmental view to me – being thin does not necessarily equate to being of good health & in reverse being overweight does not necessarily equate to ill health. I am larger & to look at can be considered overweight but I am also relatively fit & extremely healthy – my gp & my life style says so. I understand that health of potential parents needs to be taken into account but there should be better ways to test this.


  • This is ridiculous and outrageous. Children just need to feel loved and safe. How dare bureaucrats make judgements on these people because of their size. Does that mean we should remove all children from parents who are overweight? See how ridiculous that is.


  • With so many kids in need of a lovely home, this decision looks very weird and questionable.


  • I do understand that there are many more risk factors for health in overweight people and the last thing these kids need is to lose an adoptive parent after their rough start in life. But a perfectly healthy person who is ideal on paper can still have an accident. So its not really fair to assume overweight people could die at any moment.


  • This is just plain stupid, utterly ridiculous.


  • BMI is not a reliable way to detect whether someone is overweight. People who are super fit and lean can fall into the ‘overweight’ category if BMI is used as an indicator, due to their high amount of muscle. My husband is a lean and fit cyclist whose BMI puts him in the overweight range, which is ridiculous! Ideally prospective parents should not be morbidly obese with an unhealthy lifestyle, but this needs to be ascertained in other ways that don’t include BMI readings.


  • that is crazy, as long as they pass the criminal and psych tests they should be able to adopt, these kids need permanent loving homes and families


  • BMI shouldn’t be a hurdle to adopt, when there is such big need. Indeed big or small people black white, gays, lesbians, muslims, chistians, can all provide a loving home. But they have to assess on extreem behaviors and imbalances.
    Being overweight can indicate emotional eating which could be a sign the person isn’t in good emotional balance.


  • It is sad when people have love to give and the government keeps that love away from those poor kids. Adoption should be made easier so kids suffer less and can get a better start in life.


  • ok fat or overweight doesn’t equal a bad person just as slim or underweight doesn’t equal a good person! your weight doesn’t mean that you are lazy or active either. how rude is that? people should be vetted on their abilities and willingness to raise these children, not superficial looks


  • seriously, how does being overweight have anything to do with being a parent and your parenting skills. Ridiculous, this needs to change.


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