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L'înformâtion et les sèrvices publyis pouor I'Île dé Jèrri

Access to records: advice for adopted persons and birth relatives

Information for adopted persons

All persons over the age of 18, who want information from their birth records, are required to have a meeting with a counsellor before they can be given the information to enable them to obtain a copy of their original birth certificate.

The purpose of counselling is:

  • to give adopted people as much information as possible about their adoption in a helpful manner
  • to help adopted adults understand some of the possible feelings and emotions aroused within themselves and their adoptive parents, of any inquiries they may wish to make about their birth families
  • to consider the possible effects upon and consequences for their birth parents if they decide to trace them

Finding your original birth records

The first step is to contact us at Children’s Services. In order for us to identify your record you will need to provide the following information:

  • your name
  • your date of birth
  • your maiden name (if appropriate)
  • the surname and Christian names of your adoptive parents

You will be invited to a meeting in the office and it is important that you bring with you some form of identification, to ensure that information is not given to an unauthorised person. At the initial interview the counsellor will discuss with you how much you already know about your birth family and your reasons for seeking further information.

If you were born in Jersey the counsellor will make an application on your behalf to the superintendent registrar for a copy of your original birth certificate. The cost is £20 and cheques should be made payable to ‘the Treasurer of the States’.

Persons born or adopted in Jersey, but now living abroad

Contact should be made by letter to the Children’s Service, giving details of date of birth and names of adoptive parents. The records can then be searched and non-identifying information provided.

You may also be given information about counselling agencies where you live, who can provide the appropriate counselling. The application for the birth certificate should be made by the local counsellor, but it may be possible to arrange this direct over the telephone.

Persons living in Jersey but born and adopted in the UK

The Children's Service is recognised by the Registrar General in England as an agency competent to provide counselling for adopted persons.

Contact needs to be made with the General Register Office for an application form and, if you wish to be counselled in Jersey, the Children Service will supply a letter confirming our willingness to provide counselling.

Persons adopted in Jersey but born in the UK

The Children’s Service will provide counselling in the usual way.

We should hold sufficient records to enable us to apply either to the General Register Office in the UK or the local area where you were born for a copy of your original birth certificate.

We will also contact the placement agency and request your adoption records. At one time Jersey born babies were placed in Southampton and some babies born there came to Jersey. A few children were placed in Jersey by UK adoption agencies.
You will be given whatever general information is available about your background.

There are no records prior to 1947 as there was no legal adoption in Jersey prior to that date. Until the Children’s Service came into existence in 1959 adoptions were mainly arranged by Health Visitors and doctors and the records for the years 1947 and 1959 give very little detail other than the birth mother’s name and address at the time of placement. From 1959 onwards the records are more detailed.

Adopted persons born in Guernsey

If you were born in Guernsey the counsellor may be able to give you some non-identifying information. You will be given a form to complete to apply for your Guernsey birth certificate and will need a cheque for £5 made payable to the” States of Guernsey”.

Your counsellor will send this to the Guernsey Children Board with confirmation that you have attended a counselling interview and they will forward this to the Greffe in Guernsey where birth records are held. The Greffe then contacts the adopted person direct and on payment of another £5 you will receive a copy of your original birth certificate.
 

Contact register for adopted persons and their birth relatives to record their wish for contact

The Children’s Service in Jersey and the Children Board in Guernsey keep records of any contact or request for information in their files and if they find that a contact from a birth parent matches with one from the adopted adult or vice versa, they will act as intermediary and put the 2 parties in touch with each other.

Searching

The Children’s Service does not have the resources to undertake searches, but can refer you to a voluntary organisation which has built up extensive experience of searching and acting as intermediary between the parties.
 

Information for birth relatives

While the Children’s Service is not able to give birth relatives any information about the child who was placed for adoption we are able to provide counselling and record their views on contact on the adopted persons file. This will be very valuable information should the adopted person decide to seek contact with them.

Birth relatives are also able to make their wishes for contact known on the contact registers held by the Superintendent Registrar in Jersey and the Greffe in Guernsey. In Jersey a letter should be sent to the Superintendent Registrar including as many details as possible. For Guernsey a Form C is available from the Greffe and a fee of £5 is charged.

For birth relatives living in Jersey, but whose children were placed for adoption in the UK, the Children’s Service is able to make contact with the adoption agency on their behalf to make their views on contact known. Some adoption agencies in the UK are willing to undertake searches for the adopted person on behalf of the birth relatives and ascertain their views on contact.​

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