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Central Adoption Agency / Central Authority for Foreign Adoptions

The Central Adoption Agency is the Central Authority in the sense of the Hague Adoption Convention (HAC). It is responsible for the mediation of intercountry adoptions from HAC contracting states.

It is responsible for the mediation of intercountry adoptions from HAC contracting states. The Central Adoption Agency is also allowed to mediate adoptions from non-contracting states. However, it is only possible if the administrative structures allowing cooperation in accordance with the necessary regulations are present in the country of origin.

In the preamble of the Hague Adoption Convention, the top priority of an intercountry adoption is described as:

The contracting states must ensure that international adoptions take place in the best interests of the child and with respect for his fundamental rights. Through the introduction of stricter procedural regulations, the abduction, sale and trafficking of children should be effectively confronted.

During the fulfilment of its tasks, the Central Adoption Agency of the Rhineland State Youth Welfare Office works closely together with the Central Adoption Agencies of the other state youth welfare offices in Germany and with the Central Federal Office for Intercountry Adoptions of the Federal Office of Justice (poss. include link).

The work of the central Adoption Office Rhineland covers:

  • Adoption mediation of children living in a foreign country;
  • Consultation for youth welfare offices, voluntary organisations, family courts, notaries, registry offices and immigration authorities regarding legal questions about intercountry adoptions;
  • Expert assessment duties during family court adoption proceedings with an international element.

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Which offices in Germany are allowed to arrange foreign adoptions?

The mediation of foreign adoptions is exclusively allowed to:

  • Central Adoption Agencies of state youth welfare offices,
  • Accredited bodies

Adoption applicants can contact the Central Adoption Agency responsible for their place of residence or any accredited body troughout Germany.

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Prohibition of unassisted intercountry adoptions

It is prohibited in Germany to adopt a child from abroad without the involvement of a licensed German international adoption agency. In principle, a foreign adoption decision is not eligible for recognition if the adoption was carried out without an international adoption agency or one of the accredited bodies.


Rhineland Regional Council
State Youth Welfare Office
Central Adoption Office
D-50663 Cologne

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Portrait von Diplom-Sozialarbeiter (degree in social work) Wolfgang Köhler

Diplom-Sozialarbeiter (degree in social work) Wolfgang Köhler


+49 221 809-6296
+49 221 8284-1465


Portrait von Diplom-Psychologin (degree in psychology) Anja Plück

Diplom-Psychologin (degree in psychology) Anja Plück


+49 221 809-6295
+49 221 8284-3359


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