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6.9.1 Adoption Records - Contents

Please see relevant section of Forms Library to access the required template.


In November 2018, Section 3, Security, Retention and Sharing of Records was added.


  1. Opening an Adoption Record
  2. Contents of Adoption Records
  3. Security, Retention and Sharing of Records

1. Opening an Adoption Record

1.1 Children

An adoption case record should be set up for the child once adoption has been identified as the Permanence Plan for the child at their 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 record is separate from the child's existing case record.

The child's Looked After case record should indicate that a separate adoption 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 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 record for each child.

1.2 Applicants to Adopt

An adoption case record for prospective adopters should be set up as soon as the Registration of Interest has been received (see Publicity and Recruitment Procedure, Section 4, Registration of Interest in Adoption). In the case of a couple, a joint case record can be set up for them both. This also applies to foster carers wishing to be considered as adopters.

2. Contents of Adoption Records

2.1 Children

The child's adoption 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 Single Assessment or other relevant document;
  3. Photographs, certificates, other significant personal mementos and Life Story book/disc;
  4. Completed CoramBAAF Forms M and O (Neonatal and obstetric reports);
  5. Medical information provided by birth parents;
  6. CoramBAAF 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 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. LAC statutory 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 (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 record;
  29. Any Veto - absolute or qualified - registered by the adopted person.

2.2 Applicants to Adopt

A prospective adopter’s case record must contain:

  1. The Prospective Adopter Stage One Plan;
  2. The information and reports obtained by the agency;
  3. The prospective adopter assessment plan;
  4. The prospective adopter’s report and the prospective adopter’s observations on that report;
  5. The written record of the proceedings of the adoption panel, its recommendation, the reasons for the recommendation and any advice given by the panel to the agency;
  6. The record of the agency’s decision;
  7. The recommendation of any independent review panel;
  8. Where applicable, the prospective adopter’s review report and the prospective adopter’s observations on that report;
  9. The prospective adopter matching plan; and
  10. Any other documents or information obtained by the agency which it considers should be included in the case record.
Information which has been obtained from the Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) should be retained on the Prospective Adopter’s Case Record for a limited time only. This information should be destroyed when the decision has been made as to whether the prospective adopter is suitable to adopt a child. It should be noted on the Prospective Adopter’s Case Record that the DBS information has been destroyed and that this information had led the agency to form a particular view, without citing the information itself.

Note: Where the placement of a child is with an adopter approved by another adoption agency, an Adoption record for the prospective adopters must still be set up and maintained in the Adoption Service.

3. Security, Retention and Sharing 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 Adoption Service Manager will first ensure that the Adoption Case Record is complete, and especially contains the ‘Later Life’ letters and Post-Adoption Contact Agreements.

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, in which case see Looked After Children in the Retention and Destruction of Case Records Procedure. 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.

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.

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).