The Care Leavers’ Association believes that:
- All adult care leavers should have full access to their childhood care files. Access to this information can have a positive impact on their lives.
- The value of these files to adult care leavers needs to be recognised by local and national government, social work professionals and society in general.
- The process of accessing files can sometimes be difficult. All care leavers should be offered support as an option. Such support should always be available from an independent, confidential source and should never be mandatory
- Many care leavers, particularly older care leavers, are not aware that they can access their records, or that such records still exist. Local authorities and voluntary organisations should make appropriate efforts to advertise this right, including advertising in the largest local newspaper in at least once a year and in the council newspaper in every issue.
- Each local authority and voluntary organisation should have a specific access to records policy that is publicly available.
- Local authorities and voluntary organisations should have a monitoring system on requests received and responses made specifically for care leavers accessing their files. They should do this in order to ensure that current legislation is being implemented properly.
- Applying for your file can sometimes be a daunting experience. Local authorities and voluntary organisations should provide a brief and accessible response letter and leaflet to encourage care leavers to persist with the process.
- Local authorities and voluntary organisations should monitor the effectiveness of their access to records service through the use of an evaluation form.