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Can you foster a child with a criminal record in the UK?

What disqualifies you from being a foster carer?

Despite popular belief, having a criminal record won’t necessarily disqualify you or a family member from becoming a foster carer. Caring for a young person or child requires a specific skillset and certain characteristics. If you possess these traits but believe you cannot foster due to having a criminal record, think again as past offences do not necessarily mean that you cannot become a foster carer.

Can I foster with a criminal record?

Having a criminal record does not necessarily instantly disqualify you from being a foster carer. It is dependent on the crime, how long ago the activity took place, the severity of the crime and the type of offence. These factors determine how serious the criminal act is, and whether this implies that you are not fit to take care of children.

One of the first checks that takes place when you apply to be a foster carer is a Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) check. This check will be conducted on anyone in your household who is over the age of 18, and it will determine if you have any offences or crimes on your criminal record. Therefore, if you do have a criminal record, it’s advised to explain this straight away at the beginning of the process so the assessors can understand this from the get-go. The DBS check will reveal this information anyway, so it’s best to get this process out the way as soon as possible.

What disqualifies you from being a foster parent in the UK?

Part of your assessment will determine if you have any criminal convictions that prelude you from fostering, such as offences against children, sexual offences or violent crimes. If it is found that you have committed any of these crimes, it will affect your likelihood of being accepted as a foster carer. However, your past offences will be risk assessed in the greatest detail to ensure that the right decision is made regarding your suitability as a foster carer.

Ready to start your career in foster care? Find out more about the fostering requirements, the fostering process or contact us today to start the application process to becoming a foster parent with Excel Fostering.

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