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8.4 Adoption Case Records


See Access to Birth Records and Adoption Case Records Procedure.


This chapter was updated in November 2014 as a result of local review. It should be re-read throughout.


  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 Children and Young People in Care 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 Looked After case record/file.

The child’s Looked After case record should indicate that a separate Adoption Case Record exists but must not include information in relation to an identified adoptive family for the child/, 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 or hard copy.

Where the plan relates to a group of siblings, there must be a separate Adoption Case Record set up for each child.

Currently it is not possible to set up a separate electronic Adoption case file on Mosaic. In the interim a separate paper file should be set up when a plan for adoption is agreed at a Children and Young People in Care Review with the child’s originating Mosaic Looked After Case recording that a separate Adoption case file exists. Social workers should reference statutory visits / review on the original Mosaic Looked After case file- in a way that does not expose the identity of the adoptive placement - e.g. who was seen when / what meeting took place when and confirm that the full record of visit/ meeting etc is stored on the child’s Adoption case file).

1.2 Applicants to Adopt

An Adoption Case Record should also be opened for every prospective adopter as soon as a Registration of Interest/ formal application has been received. 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 Single Assessment or other relevant document;
  3. Photographs, certificates, other significant personal mementos and Life Story Book;
  4. Completed Neo-natal and obstetric reports;
  5. BAAF Form A (completed by birth parents);
  6. BAAF 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 together or 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 sent to birth parents and adopters;
  14. Children and Young People in Care 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 Other Local Authority (OLA) or Voluntary Adoption Agency (VAA) approved adopters matched with York children

  1. Where a child is placed with an adopter or adopters approved by another adoption agency,  the family finding adoption worker will set up an Adoption Case Record for the prospective adopters and place on this the documents and information it has received from the prospective adopter’s agency.

2.3 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 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-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.

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, children's Adoption Case Records will be retained for a minimum of 100 years after the Adoption Order is made. The social worker's Service Manager will first ensure that the Adoption Case Record is complete, and especially that it contains the 'Later in Life' letters from the parents and from the social worker and Adoption Contact Agreements, before agreeing case closure.

Where an Adoption Order is not made, children's Adoption Case Records should be transferred back to the child's Looked After record.

Where an Adoption Order is not made, the prospective adopter's Adoption Case Record should be retained for 100 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 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.