As you are no doubt aware, ACAL is backing a campaign to give Care Leavers better access to their care records, particularly where the care leaver is trying to find records which existed many years ago, and is experiencing difficulty.
Our latest Briefing Statement is set out below.
Should you think that you can help us with our campaign please get in touch with us.
ACCESS TO CARE RECORDS CAMPAIGN
Join us so together we achieve a fair deal for adult care leavers and their rights and needs to access information about their family history and time in care
What are we doing?
The Access to Care Records Campaign Group (ACRCG) is working with adult care leavers to change the law. It must be more straightforward for adult care leavers to find out from their care records about their time in care and decisions made about them.
Adult care leavers have the fundamental right to know about their personal and family history. Unlike people growing up in their birth family, their care record holds the narrative of their childhood and adolescence and family connections.
We believe, based on the experiences of adult care leavers requesting to see their care records, that the Data Protection Act 1998 is not a suitable framework and process.
What needs to change?
Adult care leavers need:
- the specific legal right to have all the information held on their care files including information about their family and persons who made decisions about them
- an access to care files process which is specifically tailored to take into account their needs
- support services if they wish during and after the process of obtaining their care files
Too many adult care leavers do not know that they are entitled to make a request to see their care records. Many of those making the request have found the process harrowing, frustrating and often end up with very limited information. Some adult care leavers are told there are no records about them or that records cannot be traced or were ‘lost’. They are offered no support to manage the feelings this arouses, no signposting to other possible sources of information and thus no closure to their quest to get information.
They find that sections of the records are redacted [removed] because it is considered to be the personal information of another person, even though this is obviously of great importance to the adult care leaver. This is unfair to adult care leavers. It may have serious consequences for their well-being and for their family life
How will we achieve the right legislation?
- raising the issue in Parliament
- discussing the reasons for the need for change in the media
- supporting adult care leavers making a request for their care files
- working with professionals who currently make decisions about access to files requests to enhance knowledge and decision making
- seeking funds to enable us to expand our campaigning and activities
Access to Care Records Campaign Group (ACRCG) is an alliance of organisations directly and indirectly involved with care leavers. Its members are the Care Leavers’ Association, CoramBAAF (formerly BAAF), Association of Child Abuse Lawyers (ACAL), The Post Care Forum and Barnardo’s, supported by Baroness Lola Young of Hornsey OBE