The question ‘can you foster a child with a criminal record,’ cannot necessarily be answered with a ‘yes’ or a ‘no’. Firstly, it is important to know that every foster carer assessment is unique and should be approached personally and individually. Every application is assessed and if you do have a criminal record, many things will be taken into consideration when it comes to processing your application.
However, by law, only convictions that relate to offences against children, sexual offences and domestic offences can prevent you from fostering. Serious convictions, such as sexual assault, rape and any crime committed against children, will mean you will not be able to foster.
What is taken into consideration?
The main thing to take into consideration is your ability to care for a child and provide a safe and welcoming environment for them. If your criminal record reflects any risk to a child, you will not be able to foster. However, if it is evident the crime committed proves you no threat to children who may be put into your care, you may still be able to foster. Past offences do not necessarily mean you cannot become a foster carer. Children and young people need a special kind of person to really connect with and this will not be overlooked when you apply, if you are the right person for the role.
The application process
Part of your application process will include a Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) check on everyone living at your address over the age of 18. Before going through the application process, it is always expected that you talk to us about any criminal record you, or someone living in your household, may have. Being open and honest about these past offences from the very beginning will help to assess the possibility of you becoming a foster carer; the earlier you mention it, the better.
Talking about the past offences committed by yourself, or another person living in your household, can be a daunting prospect. However, having a criminal record will not automatically disqualify you from becoming a foster carer. Many things are taken into consideration when a criminal record is being assessed, including:
- How long ago the crime was committed.
- What crime was committed.
- The severity of the crime.
- The circumstances of the crime committed.
Always be open and honest
It is always important to be honest when applying to be a foster carer, so make sure you mention any criminal records as soon as the opportunity arises.
You can read more on the UK legislation around fostering with a criminal record here. Alternatively, you can learn a bit more about the process of becoming a foster parent and request a digital brochure today. If you have more questions about fostering a child with a criminal record, you can give us a call on 0800 566 8317 and we will be able to answer any questions you may have.