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6.2.11 Adoption Case Records


See Access to Birth Records and Adoption Case Records Procedure.


In February 2022, this chapter was updated in line with the changes made by Coram BAAF to their forms.


  1. Opening an Adoption Case Record
  2. Contents
  3. Security and Retention of Records

1. Opening an Adoption Case Record

1.1 Children

An Adoption Case Record for a child should be opened as soon as there is an Adoption Plan for the child i.e. once adoption has been identified as the permanence plan for the child at his or her Children Looked After Review or, where a child has been relinquished for adoption, as soon as the parent's request for adoption has been made. The Adoption Case Record is separate from the child's existing case record/file.

The child’s Looked After case record should indicate that a separate Adoption Case Record exists and must not include information in relation to the new identity or address of the child or any information whereby the child’s pre and post-adoption identity could be linked. Such information should only be contained on the Adoption Case Record. This principle applies to information kept in whatever form - electronic, hard copy or microfilm

Where the plan relates to a group of siblings, there must be a separate Adoption Case Record for each child.

1.2 Applicants to Adopt

An Adoption Case Record should also be opened for every prospective adopter as soon as a Registration of Interest has been accepted for Stage One. In the case of a couple, a single case record can be set up for them both. This also applies to foster carers wishing to be considered as adopters.

2. Contents

2.1 Children

The child’s Adoption Case Record should contain the following information and documents:

  1. The child’s original birth certificate and birth details (time, weight, type of delivery etc);
  2. Description and details (including family tree) of the birth family and household set out in an Assessment or other relevant document;
  3. Photographs, certificates, other significant personal mementos and Life Story Book;
  4. Completed Neo-natal and obstetric reports;
  5. The Child’s Permanence Report;
  6. The Prospective Adopter's Report and Adoption Placement Report;
  7. The Adoption Support Plan;
  8. The child’s profile,pre-matching record, family finding plan, Matching Meeting and pre-Panel meeting minutes and any other documents prepared and presented for the matching decision;
  9. Record of social work with child about adoption, including recording of direct work. This should include the date of every contact, whether the child was seen, issued discussed, child's views, analysis and evaluation of the content of the report. This will provide a record to inform current actions and a record for the young person in later years;
  10. Details of siblings, together with any assessments and decisions to place brothers and sisters together or separately, including minutes of relevant meetings;
  11. All relevant minutes and the Agency Decision Maker (Adoption) (see Documents Library, Appendices) decisions in relation to the child’s Adoption Plan and placement, including records of discussions held by the Agency Decision Maker. Copies of all notifications of agency decisions will be sent to birth parents and adopters;
  12. Children Looked After Review minutes and the child’s Care Plan from the point when adoption was identified as the plan;
  13. Assessments, correspondence and signed agreements relating to post-adoption contact;
  14. Any other key correspondence to and from members of the child’s birth family, including the settling-in letter;
  15. Minutes from Placement Planning Meetings and review meetings;
  16. Itemised List and copies of information supplied to child;
  17. Itemised List and copies of information supplied to adopters;
  18. Later Life letter/information from the birth parents to the child;
  19. Later Life letter from the Social Worker outlining the circumstances of the Adoption Plan;
  20. The Adoption Placement Plan and any amendments;
  21. Reports of visits to the child post-placement and records of any Adoption Review meetings. As previously stated, this should provide sufficient detail to inform current actions but also enable the young person in future years to make sense of his/her history;
  22. Court reports and other documents prepared for Placement Order applications (if applicable) and the adoption application;
  23. Copies of Care Orders and Placement Orders (including Interim Care Orders);
  24. Copy of any Parental Consent to Adoptive Placement and Parental Consent to the adoption and/or a copy of the Placement Order;
  25. Copy of Adoption Order;
  26. Any recording relating to requests for access to birth records by the adopted person or access to the Adoption Case Record by any person;
  27. Any Veto - absolute or qualified - registered by the adopted person;
  28. Minutes of any Disruption Meetings;
  29. PEP;
  30. Notification of change of placement;
  31. Designation of Parental Responsibility Form.

It is essential that all case records reflect the supervisory process and comprehensive management oversight.

2.2 Applicants to Adopt

  1. The prospective adopter's Adoption Case Record should contain all the information obtained about him or her in relation to the application for approval, including the Prospective Adopter's Report, photographs etc;
  2. All relevant checks;
  3. References;
  4. All relevant Panel minutes and the Agency Decision-Maker’s decisions in relation to the suitability of the adopters and the match and placement of the child with them;
  5. Adopter Linkmaker profile;
  6. Assessments, correspondence and signed agreements relating to post-adoption contact;
  7. The Adoption Placement Plan;
  8. Itemised List and copies of information supplied to adopters;
  9. Any other key correspondence;
  10. Reports of visits to the adopters.

3. Security and Retention of Records

Adoption Case Records must be stored in secure conditions. Paper records should be kept in locked cabinets. Electronic records should be accessible only to those who are authorised to have this access.

In cases where an Adoption Order is made, children’s Adoption Case Records will be retained for a minimum of 100 years after the Adoption Order is made. The Adoption Service Manager will first ensure that the Adoption Case Record is complete, and especially contains the ‘Later in Life’ letters and Post-Adoption Contact Agreements.

Where an Adoption Order is not made, children’s Adoption Case Records should be transferred back to the child’s Looked After record. Any duplicated information should be shredded.

Where an Adoption Order is not made, the prospective adopter's Adoption Case Record should be retained for 50 years. 

Whenever it is necessary to send any part of an Adoption Case Record by post, either within or outside the Council, the information should be placed in a sealed plain envelope and marked ‘PERSONAL AND CONFIDENTIAL’. When the external post is necessary, then arrangements should be made for copies of relevant documents to be sent by recorded delivery.