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4.1.12 Adoption Case Records

AMENDMENT

This chapter was updated in April 2012 as a result of the Adoption Guidance and the National Minimum Standards published in March 2011, which became effective from 1 April 2011.

This amendment was made in Section 1, Opening an Adoption Case Record to clarify the point at which the case record should be opened for the child and the prospective adopter.


Contents

  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 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. 

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 Assessment or other relevant document;
  3. Photographs, certificates, other significant personal mementos and Life Story book/disc;
  4. Completed BAAF Forms M and O (Neonatal and obstetric reports);
  5. Medical information provided by birth parents;
  6. BAAF Development Assessment Forms or equivalent;
  7. The Child’s Permanence Report and other documents prepared and presented for Panel recommendation and agency decision that the child should be placed for adoption;
  8. Prospective Adopter's Report;
  9. Adoption Placement Report, Adoption Support Plan and other documents prepared and presented for Panel recommendation and agency decision that the child should be placed for adoption with the particular prospective adopters;
  10. Record of social work with child about adoption, including recording of direct work;
  11. Details of siblings, together with any assessments and decisions to place brothers and sisters separately, including minutes of relevant meetings;
  12. All relevant Adoption and Permanency Panel 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 with non-Panel members;
  13. Looked After Review minutes and the child’s Care Plan from the point when adoption was identified as the plan;
  14. Assessments, correspondence and signed agreements relating to post-placement and post-adoption contact;
  15. Any other key correspondence to and from members of the child’s birth family;
  16. List and copies of information supplied to child;
  17. 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 social worker visits to the child post-placement and records of any Adoption Reviews;
  22. Court reports and other documents, including Statements of Facts, prepared for Freeing Order application (if applicable), Placement Order application (if applicable) and adoption application;
  23. Copy of Care Order (including Interim Care Orders);
  24. Written agreement to placement, signed by parents, where child is less than 6 weeks old (if applicable);
  25. Parental Consent to Adoptive Placement and/or Advance Parental Consent to adoption witnessed by CAFCASS officer (if applicable);
  26. Copy of Placement Order or Freeing Order (if applicable);
  27. Copy of Adoption Order;
  28. Any recording relating to birth records counselling of the adopted person or requests for access to the Adoption Case Record;
  29. Any Veto - absolute or qualified - registered by the adopted person.

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 their application for approval, including the BAAF Form F or 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 placement of the child with them;
  5. Assessments, correspondence and signed agreements relating to post-placement and post-adoption contact;
  6. The Adoption Placement Plan;
  7. List and copies of information supplied to adopters;
  8. Any other key correspondence;
  9. Reports of visits to the adopters.

Note: Where the placement of a child is with an adopter 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. 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 password protected.

In cases where an Adoption Order is made, Adoption Case Records must be retained for a minimum of 100 years after the Adoption Order is made. The Adoption Service Manager should first ensure that the Adoption Case Record is complete, and especially contains the ‘Later in Life’ letters and any 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 file. Any duplicated information should be shredded.

Where an Adoption Order is not made, the prospective adopter’s Adoption Case Record should be retained for a minimum of 5 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 delivered personally wherever possible or 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.

End