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8.6 Later in Life Letter Policy

This chapter was added to the manual in February 2022.


  1. Policy and Purpose
  2. Content of Letter
  3. Amendments to Letter
  4. Filing and Sharing of Letter

1. Policy and Purpose

Manx Care will ensure that all looked after children who are placed for adoption will have a clear written narrative of their care journey and information surrounding the key decisions that were made in respect of their care planning.

2. Content of Letter

A Later in Life letter should be written by the child’s Social Worker and should be initiated at the point adoption or Special Guardianship becomes the primary plan for a child. The Later in Life letter should be written as if it were going to be read by a young adult/teenager. The language used needs to be sensitive, fair and balanced. The Later in Life letter should include the following, but isn’t exhaustive, to:

  • The child’s early history, including names of parents, significant family members and detail any sibling(s), their personalities, interests, any health or genetic concerns;
  • Names of the Social Worker(s) involved in their care planning, their role, and length of involvement and how long they have known the child;
  • Details of the concerns and reasons as to why they could not live with their birth parents or extended family and friends;
  • Where they were placed and any placement moves, and the reason(s) for this;
  • The key decisions that were made in respect of their care planning and the dates;
  • How their adoptive family was chosen and refer to them as ‘mother’ and/or ‘father’;
  • Any significant successes, anecdotal memories, developmental milestones or achievements the child has made during their care journey;
  • Details as to how to make contact with the Adoption Agency for the purposes of tracing;
  • To end the letter, wishing the child every success for the future.

If the child is placed in an adoptive/SGO placement, alongside a sibling, a Later in Life letter needs to be completed for each child and must be bespoke to them. Once the Later in Life letter is completed, the Social Worker’s team manager needs to quality assure the contents.

3. Amendments to Letter

A copy of the Later in Life letter must be provided to the adopters/Special Guardians at least 10 days after the Celebration Hearing or Final Hearing. The adopters/Special Guardians will have 7 working days in which to read the Letter and request for any amendments to be made/explored.

These amendments need to be undertaken by the child’s Social Worker, within 5 working days, and authorised by their team manager, within 2 working days. A final copy must then be provided to the adopter(s).

If there are any disagreements in respect of the amendments, then this must be escalated to the social work manager for resolution.

4. Filing and Sharing of Letter

A copy of the letter must be placed on the child’s file, along with a case note and added to the file chronology, by the child’s Social Worker. In addition, a copy must be given to the Adoption Practice Lead, who will then ensure the letter is saved on the child’s adopted file.

It will be the responsibility of the child’s adopters to share the letter with the child, when they feel it is appropriate to do so.