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3.10.9 Adoption Case Records

AMENDMENT

In March 2019 Section 3, Security, Retention and Sharing of Records was updated in line with Adoption and Care Planning (Miscellaneous Amendments) Regulations 2018, which provides that an adoption agency may disclose an adoption case record to another adoption agency for purposes related to either agency’s functions as an adoption agency. Further information was added in relation to adoption records where an Adoption Order is not made.


Contents

  1. Opening an Adoption Case Record
  2. Contents
  3. Security, Retention and Sharing of Records
  4. Access to Records


1. Opening an Adoption Case Record

1.1 Children

An Adoption Case Record for the child should be opened as soon as the Adoption Panel has recommended, and the Agency Decision Maker has decided that the child should be placed for adoption. i.e. once adoption has been identified as the permanence plan for the child at their 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 file. The case file should indicate on the front sheet that a separate Adoption Case Record exists. The case file will 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 formal application has been received. In the case of a couple, a joint case record can be set up for them both. If foster carers wish to be considered as adopters, a separate Adoption Case Record should be set up for each single person or couple.


2. Contents

2.1 Children

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

  1. Child's birth details (time, weight, type of delivery etc.);
  2. Description and details (including family tree/genogram) of the birth family and household;
  3. Photographs, certificates and other significant personal mementos;
  4. Completed CoramBAAF Forms M and B (Neo-natal and obstetric reports);
  5. CoramBAAF Form A (completed by birth parents);
  6. CoramBAAF Development Assessment Forms or equivalent;
  7. Detailed Chronology of early history/assessment reports of early developmental and social history, (contained in Child's Permanence Report);
  8. Details of any substitute carers prior to adoption placement (contained in Child's Permanence Report);
  9. Child's Permanence Report and other documents prepared and presented for best interests decisions;
  10. Child's profile, Adoption Placement Report and other documents prepared and presented to Adoption Panel when considering the proposed placement of the child with particular prospective adopters;
  11. Record of social work with child about adoption, including recording of direct work;
  12. Details of siblings and any decisions to place brothers and sisters separately, including minutes of relevant meetings;
  13. All relevant Adoption Panel minutes and Designated Manager's decisions in relation to the child's adoption;
  14. Looked After Review minutes from the point when adoption was identified as the plan for permanence;
  15. Assessments, correspondence and signed agreements relating to post-adoption contact;
  16. Any other key correspondence to and from members of the child's birth family;
  17. List and copies of information supplied to child;
  18. List and copies of information supplied to adopters;
  19. Later Life letter/information from the birth parents to the child;
  20. Later Life letter from the social worker outlining the circumstances of the adoption plan;
  21. Adoption Placement Plan;
  22. Reports of visits to the child post-placement;
  23. Court reports prepared for Placement Order application (if applicable) and adoption application;
  24. Statements of Facts prepared for Placement Order application (if applicable) and adoption application;
  25. Copy of Care Order (including Interim Care Orders);
  26. Copy of Placement Order;
  27. Copy of Adoption Order;
  28. Any recording relating to birth records counselling of the adopted person;
  29. Any Veto - qualified or absolute - registered by the adopted person (assuming that he or she was adopted before 30 December 2005).

2.2 Applicants to Adopt

The prospective adopter's Adoption Case Record should contain all the information obtained about them in relation to their application for approval together with the relevant Panel minutes, decisions and Plans drawn up. 

Where a child is placed with the prospective adopters the documents listed in Paragraph 2.1, Children above at 9, 10, 13, 15, 18, 19, 20, 21 22, 23 (in relation to Adoption Application), 24 (in relation to Adoption Application), 26 and 27.


3. Security, Retention and Sharing of Records

Adoption Case Records will be retained for a minimum of 100 years after the Adoption Order is made. Adoption Case Records must be kept in secure conditions at all times.

Once an Adoption Order is made, the child's Adoption Case Record should be transferred to the Senior Executive Officer (SEO), Post Adoption, Adoption and Permanence Team (who has responsibility for maintaining and archiving records), who will arrange the safe storage and archiving of these records. The SEO will ensure that the Adoption Case Record is complete, and especially contains the 'Later Life' letters and Post-Adoption Contact Agreements. (A copy of the contact agreement must also be sent to and retained by the Adoption and Permanence Team as well as a Risk Assessment.)

Where an Adoption Order is not made, an adoption agency must keep the child’s case record and the prospective adopter’s case record for such period as it considers appropriate.

Where an Adoption Order is not made and the agency decides to close the child’s adoption case record, it should transfer the information from this record to the looked after case record, in which case see Looked After Children. If the child has never been looked after, the agency should destroy the records when no further action is necessary. An example of when this may be appropriate is if the possibility of adoption of a baby was discussed before the child’s birth, but the baby remained with the birth parents.

Where an Adoption Order is not made prospective adopters can be asked if they want their case records retained – in case they may wish to reapply to the agency or another adoption agency to adopt again - and to give their consent to the storage of the case record for whatever period is agreed, after which the record will be securely destroyed.

An adoption agency may disclose an adoption case record to another adoption agency as it thinks fit for purposes related to its functions or the receiving agency’s functions as an adoption agency. (s.2 The Adoption and Care Planning (Miscellaneous Amendments) Regulations 2018, amending 8(2) of the Disclosure of Adoption Information (Post-Commencement Adoptions) Regulations 2005).

Whenever it is necessary to send any part of an adoption record by post, (for example to Adoption Panel members), 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 used, the recorded delivery service must be used.

At the end of each Panel meeting, the Adoption Panel administrative staff will collect all papers. Panel members unable to attend a meeting will be asked to return his or her papers to the Panel administrative staff. All papers will be shredded to ensure confidentiality.


4. Access to Records

See Access by Adopted Persons to Birth and Adoption Records Procedure.

End