# 0800 802 1910

Access to Records with Diagrama

Access to records and intermediary services

We recognise how important it is to know where we come from, learn about our roots and understand our family history. Diagrama Adoption believes that everyone has a right to understand their history. We hold adoption and care records of more than 25,000 people, some dating back to the early 1900’s. We support and guide people through the complex process of finding out about their backgrounds, making family connections and developing a stronger sense of identity.  We take great pride in supporting people  with this process and do so in a sensitive and empathic way.  

“The whole process was a joy. Very smooth – an important part of my journey” (Adopted Adult, April 2021)

“My case was handled sensitively, respectfully and with kindness” (Care Leaver, August 2021)

Diagrama Foundation is a not-for-profit organisation, and is a charity registered with Ofsted as a Voluntary Adoption Agency. Diagrama is unlikely to be the Appropriate Adoption Agency and will not have discretion to share adoption information if your adoption took place after 30 December 2005 (you will need to apply to your own local authority for an adoption records service, or the local authority/council who were responsible for placing you for adoption)

Since November 2014 Diagrama Foundation has been responsible for holding the adoption records for the former organisations:

• Cabrini Children’s Society

• The Southwark Catholic Rescue Society

• The Southwark Catholic Children’s Society

• Portsmouth Diocesan Catholic Child Welfare

• Care Records - Diagrama also hold care records for people who were in residential homes and former child migrants connected to the above organisations. Statutory guidance states that access to CARE files must be provided within 30 days of identity being confirmed and Diagrama endeavour to adhere to this guidance.

How to access records:

Please complete the relevent enquiry form below and (if applicable) return by email to adoption@diagrama.org. You can contact our team at any point to discuss this by calling 0800 802 1910. 

Adoption enquiry form

Care Enquiry Form

Family Descendant Form

Next steps:

A member of our team will contact you and verify your ID.

Our Access to Records Social Worker will contact you to arrange a telephone call to discuss your enquiry in detail and explain the process for sharing information.

Once the Access to Records Social Worker has prepared your file, arrangements will be made to share this with you via a Zoom video call.

(Please note that you will need to be over 18 years of age and provide verification of your identity)


What can you expect from our service?

We acknowledge the life-long impact of adoption on all those concerned, and the significance and value of adoption information in helping adopted adults to understand their family history and origins.

“I received an excellent service. Couldn’t have gone better or been more supportive. I am very grateful for the information provided to me, it fills in the blanks to the early part of my life” (Adopted Adult, May 2021)

All adopted adults who come directly to Diagrama will receive their records with counselling which in the vast majority of cases will be delivered via a video call unless it is felt that a face to face meeting is more appropriate. Adoption records are shared by way of a counselling interview in order that information can be shared in a supportive manner, and any issues affecting the adopted person can be discussed, including the welfare of all parties involved and the implications of decisions and actions for everyone affected. Whilst Adoption records are confidential, we appreciate adopted adults wish to find out as much as possible about their birth family and origins, in order to understand their past connections and to make informed decisions. We aim to share as much information as possible within our legal remits.

For adult care leavers, our usual practice is to share records in a meeting with a worker because of the sensitive and personal nature of care records. We appreciate that a person may prefer to receive their records without seeing one of our workers and we can make arrangements for copies to be sent by registered post and/or via secure email.

“I have found the service Diagrama provided to be swift, empathetic and an extremely helpful, positive experience.” (Adopted Adult, September 2022)

“I thought the whole process was relatively simple to go through and the level of care and attention to detail I received was excellent” (Adopted Adult, August 2022)


Requests for information from relatives:

At present Diagrama do not offer a full intermediary service involving tracing and making contact with family members, however we can offer you advice and signpost you to registered agencies. Unless we have permission to make contact with the adoptee, we will suggest that you leave a letter on their record and use an Intermediary service to assist you in your search, as well as leaving your details on the Adoption Contact Register.

Birth mothers:

We continue to support birth mothers to access information written about them at the time they gave birth. We recognize the trauma experienced by some birth mothers and the impact this has had on memory around the time adoption was arranged.

“I was treated with respect and dignity by all Diagrama staff. You have made a significant impact in helping me to put structure to that period of my life.” (Birth mother, March 2022)

Overseas Applications:

If you live overseas and wish to apply for your adoption records, we can provide this service to you via zoom in the same way we do for adults who live in the UK. Alternatively, you can choose a counsellor/adoption agency in the country where you reside to support you with this process.

Intermediary services for descendants of deceased adoptees:

Diagrama are able to provide Family Descendant work for family members who are searching for the adoption records of their relative who has since passed away. The family member must first provide evidence that the relative has died, along with identification to prove who they are and how they are related to the adopted adult. Please note that there is a fee for this service. The relative is made aware of the cost of this service when they make their enquiry and are sent a contract so they are clear about Diagrama's procedures.

Historical Abuse and Safeguarding Children

Diagrama is fully committed to taking the necessary action when incidents of abuse, current, or historical are brought to our attention. We take reports of abuse very seriously and are particularly concerned to prevent harm to any child today. Any disclosures of abuse will be discussed with you, but we will make the final decision about what action to take. Further information on historical abuse can be made available upon request.

Link to useful sites

Adoption Contact Register

General Register Office

Adoption Search Reunion

Information Commissioners Office ico.org.uk 0303 1231113

Care Leavers Association www.careleavers.com


You may find the following websites of use:

National Archives



Donations and leaving a legacy 

We know the impact of adoption on people’s lives is life-long. We aim to be there for you in the future as we are at present. Leaving a gift to Diagrama Adoption in your will is an investment in the future, ensuring that valuable adoption support is available for years to come. Find out more about supporting Diagrama Adoption.


Contact us

Please send enquiries to our email address adoption@diagrama.org, alternatively, you can speak to a member of our team on 0208 668 2181


Or write to us at:

Access to Records, Kent Spaces, 6-8 Revenge Road, Chatham, Kent, ME5 8UD.