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U.S. Citizen Services

Children's Issues

The Office of Children’s Issues (OCI) is the Department of State’s central authority for protecting the welfare and interests of children and their parents across international borders. Please refer to their website for further information regarding their role or to contact them directly. Alternatively, please refer to their information regarding Family and Children’s Passport Issues.

Adoptions
Both Australia and the United States are signatory to the Hague Adoption Convention, which is a safeguard for Intercountry Adoptions. For information regarding adoptions from Australia, please refer to the Department of State’s information regarding Adoption in Australia.

Abductions
OCI maintains comprehensive information regarding International Parental Child Abduction, including case management, resources to locate an abducted child, tools to prevent abductions, and Country Information. Please refer to their information regarding Child Abduction Issues in Australia.

Preventing Abductions
To prevent international child abduction, the Department of State requires that both parents consent to the issuance of a minor (under age 16) child’s passport.  Parents involved in child custody disputes who wish to be notified if an application for their child’s U.S. passport is submitted may also ask that their child's name be entered into the State Department's Children’s Passport Issuance Alert Program (CPIAP).

For parents with immediate concerns that one parent may remove their child from Australia without their consent, please contact the Australian Federal Police regarding having the child placed on their Airport Watch List. Please note that the U.S. Government is unable to intervene in Australian Immigration matters.

Child Support
Claims for child support payments need to be assessed by the relevant child support agency where the child is resident. Australia and the United States have a bilateral agreement to enforce child support payments for parents resident in their country when the child is abroad.

For children resident in Australia, please contact the Child Support Agency to initiate a claim for child support payments. The Child Support Agency also provides a range of Information Sheets regarding Australia specific child support issues. For children resident in the United States, please contact the child support agency for the U.S. state your child is resident in. For additional information regarding international child support agreements, please refer to the Department of State’s information regarding Child Support.

Child Custody Issues
Legal custody of minor children must be adjudicated by a court, and finalized by way of an official court decree. The U.S. Embassy is unable to provide legal advice to U.S. citizens abroad, including parents seeking custody of their children. Please refer to our list of Attorneys who have made themselves known to our office for legal assistance in obtaining custody of your children.