3.9.9 Adoption Case Records


In September 2018, this chapter 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.


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

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, 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. This will be a new file, separate from the child's care files. The Adoption Case Record will be known as the Child's Adoption file, it will be kept by the child's Family Finding Social worker, located in the Adoption Service. Where the plan relates to a group of siblings, there must be a separate adoption case record for each child. 

The intention of the adoption case record is to provide the adopted person with as much information as possible about his or her personal and social history and the reason for the adoption.

Where the adoption is not the final outcome for the child, the Adoption Case Record should be merged with the child’s file.

An Adoption Case Record for a prospective adopter should be opened as soon as a formal application has been received. See Assessment and Approval of Agency Adoptive Applicants and Assessment and Approval of Inter Country Adoptive Parents Procedure.

2. Contents

Adoption agencies are required under Adoption Agencies Regulation 12 2005 to set up a case record for the child. This should be separate from any other pre-existing files maintained on the child.

The obligation recognises the special lifetime significance of adoption. Such files must be given proper importance and the organisation and storage should reflect this. For the adopted person the file may be the only coherent record of their adoption they have access to.

Whilst the child's adoption file will be kept and maintained by the family finding social worker, it will be the joint responsibility of the child's social worker and the family finding social worker to ensure that the file contains all the information listed below.

There will be two points at which the child's social worker will need to provide information to the family finding social worker for inclusion in the child's adoption file. These are as follows:

  • Once the Care Order and Placement Order are granted the child's social worker will provide the family finding social worker with all the information marked *;
  • Once the Adoption Order is granted, the child's social worker will provide the family finding social worker with all the information marked **.

All information not marked in this way will be added to the file by the family finding social worker.

Front pieces

  1. Key biographical information about the child for example name, date of birth, adoption date, name of social worker and a photograph of the child*;
  2. Copy of this contents list for reference.

Section One

  1. Record of any key actions which resulted in the Adoption Order. This should be in the form of a chronology giving dates and list of key events and actions.(could be an updated court chronology)**.

Section Two -The Child

  1. Child's Permanence Report with all relevant sections completed;
  2. Copy of the child's Adoption Medical (copies held at adoption team);
  3. Paediatric record including completed neonatal and obstetric reports.(copies of these should be made at point of medical being undertaken)*;
  4. Details of the child's birth, time, weight, place with supporting evidence if available;
  5. CoramBAAF Development Assessment Forms also Forms Annex C and D or equivalent*;
  6. Consent to placement for adoption under sect 19 (parental consent) or Section 20, if applicable*;
  7. Form or notice of withdrawing consent under section 19 or 20*;
  8. Child's profile used for advertising purposes and summary of the efforts made to find adopters;
  9. Record of social work with child about the adoption plan, including recording of any direct work undertaken with the child; which must include their wishes and feelings about the adoption plan**;
  10. Details of any substitute carers prior to placement for adoption*;
  11. Copy of the Adoption Support Plan which was used for matching purposes and a copy of the matching grid;
  12. later life letter from the social worker outlining the circumstances of how adoption became the plan**;
  13. Copies of Photographs, certificates and other significant mementos from early years, originals should be as part of life story work**;
  14. List of key documents supplied directly to the child including copies of any information supplied to the child from the birth family including letters, photographs etc.**;
  15. Copy of life story work (state who holds the original copy of the life story work)**;
  16. Minutes of any Life Appreciation Day or previous placement disruption minutes;
  17. Any Absolute or qualified Veto registered by the adopted person.

Section Three - Birth Family

  1. Description and details (including family tree and genogram) of the birth family and household the child was born into*;
  2. CoramBAAF form PH, report on health of birth parent to include a copy of their consent*;
  3. Details of siblings and any decisions to place brothers and sisters separately, including minutes of any relevant meetings (such as together or apart assessment)*;
  4. Key correspondence from/to the child's family about the emerging plan for adoption**.

Section Four - Adoptive Family

  1. Key correspondence/records of discussions with adopters concerning the child in placement*;
  2. Adoption Placement Report;
  3. Adoption Placement Plan including copy of introductions plan;
  4. Copy of parental responsibility agreement;
  5. List of key documents supplied directly to the adopters-(list included in Adoption Placement Plan);
  6. Agency letter of medical authorisation at time of placement**;
  7. Statutory notifications letters to current GP, new area health trust, education dept and area local authority;
  8. Reports of visits to child post placement**;
  9. Agreements relating to contact post-placement and post adoption**.

Section Five - Legal

  1. Copy of child's original birth certificate*;
  2. Copy of Care Order (including Interim Care Orders)*;
  3. Copy of Placement Order*;
  4. Copy of Adoption Application form;
  5. Annex A report prepared for the Adoption application (in the case of an inter-agency placement, this will need to be provided by the child's social worker following the making of an Adoption Order. For all children placed with Walsall approved adopters, the family finding social worker will add this to the Child's Adoption File);
  6. Copy of Adoption Order**.

Section Six - Reports

  1. Looked After Review minutes from the point when adoption was identified as the preferred plan**;
  2. Minutes of Permanency Planning Meeting*;
  3. Adoption Panel Minutes and agency decision maker's decisions in relation to the child's adoption plan;
  4. Adoption Panel Minutes and Agency Decision Maker's decisions in relation to the child's suitability to be placed for adoption and placement with adopters, including any discussion by the Agency Decision Maker prior to making the decision;
  5. CoramBAAF Form H / Inter Agency Agreement.

3. Retention of Records

As soon as an Adoption Order is granted, the child’s adoption file will be completed by the child's family finding social worker, any remaining information that is required from the child's social worker will need to be obtained prior to the closure of the case and prior to storage in accordance with the Adoption Agency Regulations.

Where the adopters are Walsall approved, their Adoption Case Record will also be completed and closed within 2 months of the Adoption Order.

All Adoption Case Records, once completed, will be retained for a minimum of 100 years after the adoption order is made. 

All adoption case records must be sent to the adoption service. The adoption team will arrange for their safe storage.

The front cover of a child’s Adoption Case Record, when archived, should be marked with the child’s surname before adoption, the adopter’s surname, the closure date and the RAS (Record of Adoption Society) number. This information will assist the tracking of the file if required in future.

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. 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).

4. Access to Records

See Access to Birth Records and Access to Adoption Case Records.