Children's Services - Retention of Records

This table sets out specific time periods for retention of records set out in legislation. Where there is no specific legislative provision, local arrangements should be made.

Subject Record Reference Retention Period

Looked After Children

 

Case records for looked after children. Care Planning, Placement and Case Review (England) Regulations 2010, s. 50.

Either:

until the 75th anniversary of the child’s birth,

or

if the child dies before age 18, for 15 years from the date of death.
Fostering

 

 

Case records for approved foster carers (including relatives, friends or connected persons granted temporary approval under regulation 24 of the Care Planning, Placement and Case Review (England) Regulations 2010), and any information relating to them contained in the register of foster carers. The Fostering Services (England) Regulations 2011, s. 32. At least 10 years from the date on which their approval is terminated.
Case records for people who are not approved as a foster parent, or who withdraws their application prior to approval. At least 3 years from the refusal or withdrawal.
Adoption Adoption records where an Adoption Order is made. Disclosure of Adoption Information (Post-Commencement Adoptions) Regulations 2005, Regulation 6. At least 100 years from the date of the adoption order.

Adoption records where an Adoption Order is not made.

 

 

 

 

 

The Adoption Agencies Regulations 2005, Regulation 40.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Adoption Statutory Guidance 2014.

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.

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.

Children’s Homes

Children’s case records for children accommodated in children’s homes. Children's Homes (England)
Regulations 2015, Regulation 36

Either:

until the 75th anniversary of the child’s birth,

or

if the child dies before age 18, for 15 years from the date of death.

Child Protection/
Assessments/
Referrals/
Children in Need/Serious Case Reviews

  No specific legislative retention period.  Under the Limitation Act 1980, there is generally a statutory limitation period of 6 years in which civil claims may be instituted.  In the case of children, this time period does not start to run until age 18. The suggested retention periods are in accordance with this limitation period.

Either:

until the 25th anniversary of the child’s birth,
or

if the child dies before age 18, for 6 years from the date of death.