Support for birth relatives

We have commissioned Barnardo's Connecting Adoptive Families Independent Service (CAFIS) to provide independent and confidential support to birth relatives in Bexley, Kent and Medway.

If you live outside of these areas but can show that Bexley, Kent, or Medway were the Appropriate Adoption Agency (AAA) that dealt with the adoption of the person you're looking for and you're willing to travel to Kent to meet with them, then they can also offer you a service.

Access to information and intermediary services

If you are a relative (by blood, marriage, civil partnership or adoption) or you're a descendant of someone who was adopted, you may be entitled to:

  • some health and family background information
  • support in making contact with the birth relative or adopted person.

Before you begin your journey with CAFIS, they will talk to you about what to expect and what might happen.

They may advise you that now isn't the right time to make contact. If that's the case, they will provide you with the support you need, which may include referring you for counselling.

If it is the right time to make contact, CAFIS will need to confirm your identity and your relationship with the person you're looking to get in touch with.

Contacting a birth relative or adopted person

If you know the contact details of the birth relative or adopted person, CAFIS can help you get in touch.

If you don't know their contact details, you'll need to employ and pay for a registered searcher. CAFIS can help you find a searcher or you can do your own research and come back to them to make contact with your birth family on your behalf.

If you choose to use a searcher CAFIS have recommended, they will ask  you to sign an agreement to confirm that you won't get any information if the birth family member doesn't want it to be passed on.

Supporting you through the process

CAFIS will arrange a meeting with one of their experienced members of staff who will assess your needs. They will discuss what might happen again, to make sure that you are emotionally ready, as well as discussing any other support that you may need.

CAFIS have a duty of care to everyone they come into contact with and they may not feel that getting in touch is the right way forward. If this is the case, and you disagree with their view, CAFIS will take you through the options available to you. You'll either be able to make a complaint, or if you were adopted after 31 December 2005, have your case reviewed by a panel known as the Independent Reviewing Mechanism (IRM).

Contact CAFIS

If you want to know more about the process, or want information about counselling or other support for birth relatives, email, or call 01795 532081.