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4.1.12 Adoption Case Records (Children)


See also: Assessment and Approval of Prospective Adopters, Prospective Adopter’s Case Record (One Adoption).


Section 3, Security, Retention and Sharing of Records was updated in February 2019 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.


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

1. Opening an Adoption Case Record

An Adoption Case Record for a child should be opened as soon as there is an adoption plan for the child. The Adoption Case Record is separate from the child's existing electronic social care case record/file.

The child’s electronic social care case record should indicate that a separate Adoption Case Record exists but 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.

2. Contents

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/genogram) 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 including all information relating to financial support to the placement and decision records;
  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, issues 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 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. Minutes from Placement Planning Meetings;
  18. Itemised list and copies of information supplied to child (these should be listed on the adoption placement plan);
  19. Itemised list and copies of information supplied to adopters (these should be listed on the adoption placement plan);
  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 their 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. Form or notice withdrawing consent under Section 19 or 20 under the Section;
  28. Copy of Adoption Order;
  29. Any recording relating to requests for access to birth records by the adopted person or access to the Adoption Case Record by any person;
  30. Any Veto - absolute or qualified - registered by the adopted person;
  31. Minutes of any Disruption Meetings;
  32. The minutes of the Adoption Panel, its recommendation and the reasons for its recommendation and any advice given by the panel to the agency.

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

3. Security, Retention and Sharing of Records

Adoption Case Records must be stored in secure conditions at all times. Paper records should be kept in locked cabinets. Electronic records should be password protected to prevent theft, damage, loss, destruction or unauthorised disclosure of content.

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 Social Work Team Manager must sign off and close the child’s adoption file and ensure that the adoption case record is complete, and especially contains the later life letters and post-adoption contact agreements.

Closure of the adoption case file requires that all information on the file is submitted, in the first instance, to the fostering and adoption section together with the adoption file closure sheet.

Note, however, that with the operation of the Local Adoption Contact Agreement, there is a requirement that the contact agreement form is fully completed and is up to date before it is submitted with the closure sheet and the case file.

Details of all closed case files are entered into the Adoption Register which records all adoptions that have been made in the Leeds courts by any agency and any non agency adoption. It is the primary reference source for all subsequent enquiries and referrals.

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, provided it does not duplicate information already on the looked after case record. Regulation 50 of the Care Planning, Placement and Case Review (England) Regulations 2010 stipulates that records on Children Looked After should be retained for at least 75 years from the birth of the child or for 15 years after the child’s death (under the age of 18), whichever is the shorter period. 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.

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

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).

4. Access to Records / Subject Access Requests

See Access to Birth Records and Adoption Case Records Procedure (One Adoption).