Accessing your care records – a quick guide

an illustration of a filing cabinet

Make sure you’re ready

When you get to care-leaving age, you may decide that you are ready to read the records that have been kept since your first involvement with social care. Although reading your records can be a positive experience and help you make sense of your life, you should also think about this carefully because it can sometimes be upsetting to read about yourself in this way, especially if you are not sure of all the details.

We recommend that before you apply for your records, you consider your current circumstances: “Am I settled and in a positive place in my life? Do I have people who can support me if my records are upsetting? Am I prepared to read things that I may not remember or know about fully?”

Sometimes reading your records can throw up as many questions as answers and it may not always be possible to find out the answers to those questions. So, if you are not sure, we recommend that you wait until you feel ready.

How to access your records

If you have thought about these things and feel ready to read you records, then you can apply for them either by asking your PA or by requesting your records through customer services. It can take up to three months to receive your records if you have been in care a long time.

When you apply for your records, you need to decide whether you want to receive them digitally (email) or in the post. If you have been in care for a few years of more, then your records may take up several boxes if they are printed out – have you got somewhere to put them?

If you think you need some support with reading your records on any level (emotional, reading ability, understanding legal terms etc), then you can either ask your PA or Avocados Advocacy. The team at Avocados are also legally trained, so they can help if you want to dispute or challenge anything in your records.

Finally, you might find there are a lot of acronyms in your records that might not make much sense. If that’s the case, check out our acronym-busting guide.