Illinois Department of Children and Family Service provides service to individuals seeking information from closed IDCFS files and/or search service. The Department has contracted with MIDWEST ADOPTION CENTER to deliver this program. There is no fee for this service.
What you will find in this section:
Who may use this program?
What happens after the client submits a Service Request to Midwest Adoption Center?
What "closed file information" is given to the client?
What is included in 'search service'?
Examples of services we can provide and some that we cannot
Private agency files held by DCFS
If the Illinois Department of Children and Family Services was involved in the completion of the adoption or in the provision of foster care, there may be records within the DCFS system.
The following individuals may request information from closed files and/or search service:
The following individuals may request search service
- Adopted person, 18 years of age or older
- Adoptive parent(s) of a child who is under the age of 21
- Guardian(s) of a child who is under the age of 18
- Person who was a ward of DCFS but never adopted (in foster care or institutional care)
- Person who was in foster care or institutional care through DCFS but never a ward
- Professionals providing service to an individual party to an adoption completed through DCFS or who was under the guardianship of DCFS but never adopted
- Birth parent(s) of a child who was placed in adoption or guardianship through DCFS
- Birth sibling of a person who was placed in adoption or guardianship through DCFS
- Other birth relative of a person who was placed in adoption or guardianship through DCFS
- Caregiver or caseworker of a current ward of DCFS
Within 5 – 7 business days, a letter acknowledging that a service request has been received is sent to the client. Midwest Adoption Center (MAC) then begins the process of determining whether the client is eligible for service through this program and identifying and obtaining the DCFS files needed to provide service.
When the necessary files have been located and obtained, the client receives a letter indicating that the case will be assigned to a MAC caseworker. If, after all resources are utilized, files necessary to provide service are not found, the client receives a letter explaining the situation and offering alternative referrals if possible.
Individuals who were wards of the Department but never adopted: These clients receive a copy of their own file if it is found, with information about other individuals removed. If a client's own file is not found but the ‘family file’ is found, information from that file that is specifically about the client will be provided.
Individuals who were never wards but were in foster or institutional care through DCFS: These clients receive a copy of their own file if it is found, with information about other individuals removed. If a client's own file is not found but the ‘family file’ is found, information from that file that is specifically about the client will be provided.
Adult adopted persons: Illinois law specifies the information that must be provided, upon request, to adult adopted persons. In addition, MAC also provides copies of medical and psychological reports and evaluations if the information is medically complex. Photos and other keepsake items found in the file that belong to the adopted person are also provided.
Adoptive and Guardianship parents of minors: Illinois law specifies the information that must be provided, upon request, to adoptive parents of minors. Federal regulations require that Guardianship parents be given the same service as adoptive parents. MAC provides copies of medical and psychological reports and evaluations, as well as educational reports and developmental evaluations found in the file. Photos and other keepsake items found in the file that belong to the adopted person are also provided.
Birth parents: Birth parents are entitled to certain information from closed files that pertains to service that they, themselves, received from DCFS.
An individual who was in DCFS care in the past or who is a ward at this time can request help in connecting with a birth relative. A birth relative of a former ward who was not adopted may also request search service to locate the person if TPR had occurred.
Using information found in the DCFS files and in CYCIS, MAC staff attempts to locate the sought after individual. MAC has access to several commercial database services that are instrumental in achieving our high rate of search success.
When the person is located, MAC staff will try to make easier whatever type of connection is comfortable for both parties. If the sought after person is under 21 years of age, the outreach must be made to his adoptive or guardianship parents.
What do MAC clients typically ask for when they first call?
- I was in the system and want to find my sister/brother/aunt/grandparent/parent.
- I was ‘taken away’ by the state and want my file.
- My child was ‘taken away’. I think she was adopted and she’s now an adult. I am trying to find her.
- My adopted child is 9 and is having a lot of problems. I need to know more about the birth family.
- My child was adopted. The new parents said they would let me know how she’s doing but I haven’t heard from them for years and they’ve moved.
- My foster or adopted child is 13 and keeps asking about his brother. They were in a foster home together and I think he was adopted. Is there any way that I can find out where he is and maybe contact him?
- I took care of my grandson until he was 5 and then he was taken by DCFS. We all want to find him now that he’s an adult.
- I was adopted when I was 4. I don’t know whether DCFS was involved. I want to find my birthmother.
- I am having health problems and want my medical history. I was in foster care or was adopted.
- I am a social worker/therapist/physician and am trying to obtain information concerning my client/patient in order to provide treatment.
- I was in an orphanage downstate in 1938. I was told the state has my file. DCFS does hold some records of a few orphanages or children’s homes dating back to the 1930’s
- I am an adopted person, birth parent or adoptive parent and am trying to find a counselor or therapist.
What kinds of requests come to MAC that we cannot serve and must refer on to another resource?
- I need to get a copy of my original birth certificate. I was in foster care in DCFS. MAC cannot give copies of vital records documents. We can provide contact information to Department of Public Health.
- My child was taken away by DCFS. I want a copy of the report that was made about me. MAC cannot give a birth parent the entire file, but can provide information and copies of some parts of the file. After you submit a request for service, we can let you know what information is available and what we can legally give you.
- I was a ward of DCFS and am trying to get financial aid for college. I need proof that I was a ward. MAC could give the client a copy of his own file, but what he probably needs is a letter/statement from DCFS verifying that he was a ward during a certain period of time. Contact the DCFS Records Manager at 217-785-1467.
- I am an attorney and have a court order or subpoena for a file of a person who was a ward. MAC does not respond to any requests from attorneys or courts. Referral to DCFS Legal Services.
- I am an adoptee/adoptive parent / birth relative; the adoption was private or completed through a private agency, not DCFS. Referral to the Confidential Intermediary program and/or to the private agency if known.
When a private adoption agency closes or stops providing adoption services, its adoption related files are sometimes turned over to the Illinois Department of Children and Family Services. Click here for current information about files held by DCFS and services available.