At one time Care Records were private and could not be sourced, but over the last 20/30 years, the law has changed to give Care Leavers the right to access records.
The Data Protection Act 2018, as well as the Freedom of Information Act 2000 give rights of access to care records.
Complications, caused by the privacy obligations of 3rd Party data and the rights of other data subjects, whose consent is usually required, create barriers to information for the Care Leaver.
For more information, see the Care Leavers Association website
First of all, the Care Leaver needs to know who was responsible for their care. Usually this will be the Local Authority nearest to where they lived.
Secondly, they need to communicate their intention to see their records, quoting the relevant legislation, to the Local Authority.
Thirdly, the Local Authority will search for their records, and should disclose them within the time period allowed by the Data Protection Act 2018, which is now only 1 month, unless the request is complex or repeated requests are made, in which case the time can be extended by 2 months to 3 months..We have lobbied to establish good practise which all care record providers should follow when applications for records arrrive. See the Children Act Transitional Guidance here
For a more in depth description of the process see the CLA website here