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3.9.7 Adoption Case Records


In December 2018, Section 3, Security, Retention and Sharing of Records 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. Further information was added in relation to adoption records where an Adoption Order is not made.


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

1. Opening an Adoption Case Record

1.1 Children

As soon as Adoption is the plan for the child, the child's adoption social worker must contact the MOSAIC helpdesk to request that the record is locked and access is restricted to those persons specified.

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 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 child's social worker is responsible for collecting the following information:
  1. Any relevant reports, e.g. Core Assessment/Social Care Assessment, medical reports, specialist assessment.

The child's social worker should then provide additional reports and information for the Adoption Case Record throughout the adoption process as they become available - see Section 2, Contents for details of the information to be supplied.

The Adoption Case Record is separate from the existing electronic social care case file.

The child's electronic social care case file should indicate on the front sheet that a separate Adoption Case Record exists. MOSAIC and the case file 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 a case record is not in active use it should be stored in a lockable security cabinet with access only provided to authorised staff.

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 joint 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. Child's Permanence Report;
  3. Description and details (including family tree/genogram) of the birth family and household set out in the child's permanence report or other relevant document;
  4. Photographs, certificates, other significant personal mementos and Life Story work;
  5. Completed CoramBAAF Forms B (Neo-natal report);
  6. CoramBAAF Form PH (if the birth parent has signed consent);
  7. CoramBAAF Development Assessment Forms or equivalent;
  8. Adoption panel minutes;
  9. Prospective Adopter's Report;
  10. Adoption Placement Report and Plan and the Support Plan;
  11. The child's profile, Matching Meeting minutes and any other documents prepared and presented for the matching decision;
  12. Record of social work with child about adoption, including recording of direct work;
  13. Details of siblings, together with any assessments and decisions to place brothers and sisters separately, including minutes of relevant meetings;
  14. All relevant minutes and decisions of the contact Head of Service in relation to the child's adoption plan and placement, including records of discussions held by the contact Head of Service;
  15. Looked After Review minutes from the point when adoption was identified as the plan for permanence;
  16. Assessments, correspondence and signed agreements relating to post-adoption contact;
  17. Any other key correspondence to and from members of the child's birth family;
  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. Copy of Adoption Support Plan;
  22. Reports of visits to the child post-placement and records of any Adoption Review Meetings;
  23. Court reports and other documents prepared; Annex A Report (if applicable), Placement Order application (if applicable) and adoption application. See Court Reports in Adoption/Special Guardianship Procedure
  24. Copy of Care Order (including Interim Care Order);
  25. Copy of Parental consent to the placement and adoption and copy of the Placement Order;
  26. Copy of Adoption Order;
  27. Any recording relating to requests for access to birth records by the adopted person or the Adoption Case Record by any person;
  28. 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 them in relation to their application for approval, including the CoramBAAF 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 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 including an Itemised List and copies of information on children placed supplied to adopters;
  7. Any other key correspondence;
  8. Reports of visits to the adopters and where relevant, annual reviews;
  9. Record of Training;
  10. Record of any financial payments/agreements;
  11. Record of any complaints or allegations;
  12. Record of any specific medical or legal advice that has been sought by the agency;
  13. Copies of Schedule 5/Annex A report, addition application and any court correspondence including Directions and Adoption Order;
  14. Information relating to the child placed including Panel decision and minutes, Adoption Placement Report, Review minutes, Child's Health record, Child Permanence report.

Note: Where the placement of a Lincolnshire 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 Lincolnshire Adoption Team.

3. Security, Retention and Sharing of Records

As soon as Adoption is the plan for the child, the child's adoption social worker must contact the MOSAIC helpdesk to request that the record is locked and access is restricted to those persons specified.

Once an Adoption Order is made the existing record on the child is closed. All staff must take great care to ensure that no information is stored on the child's original record that can provide a link between the child's pre-adoption identity and post adoption identity including information on prospective adopters.

Once the child is adopted a new record is created in the child's new name. The child's adoption social worker must also inform the MOSAIC helpdesk to lock access and name who has permission to access the record.

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 will be retained in the agency archives for a minimum of 100 years after the Adoption Order is made. The designated adoption support staff member will first ensure that the Adoption Case Record is complete, that adopters have received all information specified in the Adoption Placement Plan, and that the Letterbox Administrator has a copy of 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 the Children's Services - Retention of Records table, Looked After Children. 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).

4. Access to Records

See Access to Birth and Adoption Case Records Procedure.