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6.2.14 Adoption Case Records


See Access to Birth Records and Adoption Case Records Procedure.


In February 2016, Section 3, Post Adoption Support was added to this chapter.


  1. Opening an Adoption Case Record
  2. Contents
  3. Post Adoption Support
  4. 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 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 formal application has been received. 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 a Child and Family Assessment or other relevant document;
  3. Photographs, certificates, other significant personal mementos and Life Story Book;
  4. Completed Neo-natal and obstetric reports;
  5. CoramBAAF Form A (completed by birth parents);
  6. CoramBAAF Development Assessment Forms or equivalent;
  7. The child’s Permanence Report;
  8. The Prospective Adopter's Report and Adoption Placement Report;
  9. The Adoption Support Plan;
  10. The child’s profile, Matching Meeting minutes and any other documents prepared and presented for the matching decision;
  11. 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;
  12. Details of siblings, together with any assessments and decisions to place brothers and sisters separately, including minutes of relevant meetings;
  13. All relevant minutes and the Agency Decision Maker's 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;
  14. Looked After Review minutes and the child’s Care Plan from the point when adoption was identified as the plan;
  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. Minutes from Placement Planning Meetings;
  18. Itemised List and copies of information supplied to child;
  19. Itemised List and copies of information supplied to adopters;
  20. Later Life letter/information from the birth parents to the child;
  21. Later Life letter from the social worker outlining the circumstances of the adoption plan;
  22. The Adoption Placement Plan and any amendments;
  23. 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;
  24. Court reports and other documents prepared for Placement Order applications (if applicable) and the adoption application;
  25. Copies of Care Orders (including Interim Care Orders);
  26. Copy of any Parental Consent to Adoptive Placement and Parental Consent to the adoption and/or a copy of the Placement Order;
  27. Copy of Adoption Order;
  28. Any recording relating to requests for access to birth records by the adopted person or access to the Adoption Case Record by any person;
  29. Any Veto - absolute or qualified - registered by the adopted person;
  30. Minutes of any Disruption Meetings.

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

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 adopter’s application to adopt,  Prospective Adopter's Report, photographs, health and safety checks, pet questionnaire etc;

  2. All relevant statutory checks;

  3. References – personal, employer, other;

  4. All relevant Panel minutes and the Agency Decision-Maker’s decisions in relation to the suitability of the adopters and the placement of the child with them;

  5. Assessments, correspondence and signed agreements relating to post-adoption contact;
  6. The Adoption Placement Plan;
  7. Itemised List and copies of information supplied to adopters;
  8. Any other key correspondence;
  9. Reports of visits to the adopters.
  10. Where adopters await the placement of a child for 12 months or more, an adopter review report should be discussed by the Adoption panel and placed on file.

Note: Where the Adoption Service places a child with an adopter or adopters approved by another adoption agency, an Adoption Case Record for the prospective adopters must still be set up and maintained in the Adoption Service.

3. Post Adoption Support

Referrals to the Post Adoption Support Team can be for a variety of reasons including information and advice, assessment for Post Adoption Support Services, to resolve issues relating to contact including mailbox contact, financial services and/or to resolve issues relating to Pupil Premium. 

Where referrals result in an assessment, a full adoption support file is opened which will contain the information below, others will hold minimal information.

Full Post Adoption Support Records should contain:

  • An assessment for post adoption support services;
  • A post adoption support plan;
  • A record of any counselling provided;
  • Case decision forms;
  • Supervision records in relation to the case;
  • Third party or specialist reports;
  • Reviews of support plans;
  • Case records;
  • Financial services and applications;
  • Correspondence;
  • Mailbox.

4. Security and Retention of Records

The Adoption Service must ensure that the case records and contents of files in respect of children and adopters/prospective adopters are kept in secure conditions at all times. Appropriate measures have been taken to prevent theft, unauthorised disclosure, damage, loss or destruction to case records and their contents. The following procedures are supported by a risk assessment and disaster recovery plan.

Closed adoption files are securely stored in the Adoption Records Archive where the local authority has storage space for confidential files. When an adoption file is closed, it must be passed to the Adoption Team Administration Assistant. Details of the file closure are to be recorded on ICS by the Team Manager.

On receipt of an adoption file for storage, the Adoptive Administrative Assistant adds a record in the adoption archive index and on the Integrated Children System (ICS) and then places the file in the adoption archived records facility for secure storage. This arrangement ensures there is a backup arrangement should there be any difficulty either with the hard copy records or the electronic file. Within the Adoption Services all the paper records are stored in locked cabinets, within a locked room.

All Blackburn with Darwen Council electronic systems are managed within I.T. policy and staff are made aware of all requirements under the Data Protection Act. Access to systems requires appropriate security access by ID and password. All electronic Adoption records are held on restricted drives or software applications. This information is backed up daily and is retrievable on request.

Security arrangements for specific files held on the premises are as follows:

Details Lockable cabinet Network Drive - (Retrievable) ICS Other cabinet in lockable room
Adoption Panel Minutes yes yes    
Post Adoption Support yes      
Access to Birth Records yes yes    
Family Finding Records yes yes    
Records in Relation to Children in the Process of Adoption     Yes  
Paper Records yes      
Records in Relation to Prospective Adoptive Parents yes yes   yes
Letterbox Records yes yes    

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.

Retention of Records

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.