The Adoption of Children Ordinance 1938 (Act no. 2/1938) was Commonwealth legislation that regulated adoption of children in the ACT for the first time. This Ordinance was repealed by the Adoption of Children Act 1965, commencing on 18 October 1966.
Under the Adoption of Children Ordinance 1938, adoption required the consent of the child’s parent or guardian, person with custody, or person liable to contribute to support. The law provided that the consent requirement may be dispensed with where a person has abandoned or deserted the infant; cannot be found; is incapable of giving consent; persistently neglected or refused to contribute to support of infant where liable; or where the court is satisfied that in all the circumstances it should be dispensed with.
The Child Welfare Act 1923 (NSW) which regulated adoption in NSW did not apply in the ACT.