5.2 Content of adoption records_2009 v1.0

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					                                       Adoption Accreditation Benchmark Policy Statement
                                                 Standard 5.2 Content of adoption records

                         SECTION 5: ADOPTION RECORDS

                        CONTENT OF ADOPTION RECORDS
                            BENCHMARK POLICY 5.2

Significant and comprehensive information relating to the circumstances of the
adoption of each child is obtained and recorded, including compulsory requirements.


1. Policy statement
2. Context
3. Definitions


To meet the standard an adoption service provider is expected to develop
policies and procedures for the content of its adoption records system, and
when required provide practice evidence of their implementation.

An adoption service provider is responsible for keeping case records about the
adoption of a child that contain relevant, sufficient and accurate information
necessary to provide for quality decisions and care.

Records should be comprehensive and contain sufficient information for decision
makers to make decisions, including documenting why decisions were made and to
answer the adopted child’s questions about his or her history and circumstances
leading to adoption.

Records include formal documents related to any court proceedings, information sent
to or received from central authorities and documented details of the provision of any
other report or prescribed information to a party to an adoption.

Adopted children are entitled to have access to records about their adoption.
Records should accurately reflect their life history as they assist adopted children to
resolve their identity and racial and cultural heritage both before and after they turn
18 years of age. All relevant information about their time in pre-adoptive care, details
of their birth family and people of personal significance, their time in care, and the
reasons for their entry into care and placement for adoption, should be collected and

Other parties to an adoption also have entitlements to particular information related
to the adoption. Records should clearly show the name, position and signature of the
person recording the information and the date of entry.

All records for an adopted child should be linked, usually in one file or set of files
unique to the one child, and contain prescribed information that parties to an
adoption are entitled to receive under the Adoption Act 2000 and the Adoption
Regulation 2003. While different information is prescribed for different parties to an
adoption, an adoption service provider should make certain that the full range of
information is collected and kept as records.

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                                        Adoption Accreditation Benchmark Policy Statement
                                                  Standard 5.2 Content of adoption records

Examples of information are (this is not an exhaustive list):

•    Any information about the physical and intellectual attributes, educational and
     vocational qualifications, social and cultural background, health and welfare,
     family and other relationships, religious beliefs, hobbies and interests of a birth
     parent, sibling, grandparent, aunt or uncle of the adopted person, that will give
     the adopted person or the adoptive parents knowledge of the adopted person’s
•    Information about the adopted person or the adoptive parents to give the birth
     parent knowledge of the adopted child’s life after adoption;
•    Reason an adoption decision was made in respect of the person;
•    Birth details (including birth weight and length of child at birth);
•    Copy of original birth certificate;
•    Date of placement for adoption;
•    Adoption order, signed consents and other associated legal information;
•    Adoption plan (if any) and associated reviews;
•    Copies of medical reports or examinations of the adopted person made before
     placement for adoption;
•    Information relating to the health and welfare of the adopted person after the date
     of placement for adoption;
•   A summary sheet with relevant and up-to-date information including:
              • Child’s name, age, language spoken, any disability, ethnic, indigenous,
                 religious status;
              • Child’s current address and contact details;
•   Name and contact details for the adoption service provider, caseworkers and
•   Names and contact details for significant relationships in the child’s life;
•   A list of every placement and the time spent in each placement;
•   Date of last contact with the child and expected next contact date;
•   The initial assessment undertaken on entering out-of-home care, reasons for
•   Documented contact and interviews with the child;
•   Detailed health assessments and health reports;
•   Documents relating to educational assessments and reports;
•   All correspondence relating to the child;
•   Clear information on how this record relates to other files on birth families or
•   Copies of material relating to the life story of the child; and
•   Information or material that a child has made on his or her file or asked to be kept
    on the file.


In the Adoption Act 2000 (the Act) and its associated regulation, the Adoption
Regulation 2003 (the Regulation), parties to an adoption are entitled to receive
certain information. Access to different information is prescribed for different parties
to an adoption. This information access is determined by factors such as who is
seeking the information, for what purpose and when in the adopted child’s life it is

In the Act, ‘Chapter 7: Records of adoptions’ refers to records of the various adoption
orders and declarations, and ‘Chapter 8: Adoption information’ relates to birth

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                                         Adoption Accreditation Benchmark Policy Statement
                                                   Standard 5.2 Content of adoption records

certificates, adopted person’s birth records and other prescribed information. Parts 9,
10 and 11 of the Regulation list the prescribed information for Chapters 7 and 8 of
the Act.

Section 175 of the Act requires that information held by an adoption service provider
is ‘preserved and that access to such information is given to a person only in
accordance with this Chapter [Chapter 8].’

Section 183 establishes penalties for presenting forged adoption documents
including consents obtained by fraud or duress to the Court.

Article 9(a) of the Convention on Protection of Children and Cooperation in Respect
of Intercountry Adoption, (Schedule 1 of the Act) instructs an accredited agency to
‘collect, preserve and exchange information about the situation of the child and the
prospective adoptive parents, so far as is necessary to complete the adoption.’


Case record
A case record is the collection and integration of any document or other source of
information compiled, recorded or stored in written form or on film, or by electronic
process, or in any other manner or by any other means for:

      (a) Each person and that person’s child adopted under arrangements made by
          the Director-General1 or the accredited adoption agency; and
      (b) Each person who has requested the Director-General or the accredited
          adoption agency to make arrangements for the adoption of a child by the
          person. (Clause 73(1) of the Regulation).

A file can be defined as an organised unit of documents, accumulated during current
use and kept together, because they deal with the same subject (person), activity or

    Refers to the Director-General of the NSW Department of Community Services.

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