One of our key objectives is to actively promote and enable individual care leavers to gain access to files held on them, as permitted under the 1998 Data Protection Act. If you check the Access to Files section of this website, you can see that we already have information on care leavers’ rights to access their files, as well as a database of the access to files contacts for each of the different regions throughout England. We also have half-a-dozen case studies from care leavers who have accessed their files, in case you are thinking of doing it yourself and want to know about some of the things that can happen.
We are running an ongoing campaign called ‘It’s Our History, It’s Our Right: Reclaiming Our Past’, which aims to:
- Promote awareness of care leavers’ rights to access their files
- Promote awareness of the importance of these personal records to care leavers
- Promote best practice on accessing these vital documents amongst professionals working in this area.
We also have an access to records quality mark, the CLEARmark, which is available to local authorities and voluntary agencies who can meet the required standards. the CLEARmark was designed entirely by care leavers, to reflect what they thought would be a good basic standard access to records service. The CLEARmark will be assessed and monitored entirely by care leavers.
We believe that there is a lot of knowledge about accessing files amongst our members already, and by sharing this knowledge and our experiences we can help each other. If you have any stories about accessing your files, then we would love to have them so that we could put them on the website with the others. (We won’t print your real name if you don’t want us to.) You can send your stories to us either as a typed paper copy or as an email attachment to firstname.lastname@example.org.