Journeys to identity : why care records matter

Brown, Laura and Grimm, David and Clunie, Gregor (2020) Journeys to identity : why care records matter. Scottish Journal of Residential Child Care, 19 (2). ISSN 1478-1840

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Care experienced people often find themselves applying for their care records in search of answers — to address gaps and inconsistencies in the knowledge they hold about their childhoods and personal development, which may in turn affect their broader senses of self. This article, written from our own lived experiences, provides a commentary on a system of writing, accessing and reading records which is not aligned to the circumstances and purposes of care experienced people and which indeed frequently disempowers and (re-)traumatises. We share our experiences of applying for and reading our records, as an adoptee and as a care experienced person. We also draw on the discussions and experiences of a Who Cares? Scotland care records campaign group. This commentary reveals the power imbalance at the heart of record keeping where the rights to memory, identity, and childhood are effectively questioned. It also makes suggestions for future practice. It asks for a complete rethinking of how care records are regarded by professionals and the sector, advocating for a shift in power as regards the production and control of information and a significant improvement in the care offered to those of us who choose to access it.

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