Guide To DBS Checks For Foster Carers
If you are a foster carer, or thinking of becoming one, you’ll need to apply for a DBS check, which highlights any red flags that may be on your criminal record.
DBS checks are becoming more and more common for a wide variety of jobs. Foster carers have always been subject to background checks, since the original CRB (Criminal Records Bureau) checks were introduced in 2002.
These days the Disclosure and Barring Service handles criminal record checks. This article will explain why you need a DBS certificate to be a foster carer, which level you’ll need, and how to go about getting one done.
Which Level of DBS Check Do Foster Carers Need?
There are three types of DBS check – Basic, Standard, and Enhanced. Each different level searches your criminal record, but some highlight more than others.
A Basic DBS check returns only unspent convictions.
A Standard DBS check returns spent and unspent convictions, plus cautions, warnings, and reprimands.
An Enhanced DBS check returns the same as a standard check, but also any relevant police notes, and an optional check of the DBS barred list.
To be an approved foster carer, you need to apply for an Enhanced DBS check with barred list check.
Unlike a basic check which you can apply for individually, the standard and enhanced checks need to be applied for on your behalf as there are questions that need a third party to verify. The foster care or social work organisation you’re applying to work with will request the DBS check for you.
As foster carers take care of foster children in their own home, anybody else that resides at their address, or is frequently there, and aged over 18 will need to apply for an Enhanced DBS check too.
Enhanced DBS checks take roughly 2 to 4 weeks to process and send out the certificate and they cost either £40.00 or £44.00.
Are You Allowed To Foster If You Have A Criminal Record?
Under the terms of the rehabilitation of offenders act, you shouldn’t be discriminated against if the convictions were a long time ago and were not of a nature that could pose a risk to children.
If you have committed offences in the past and want to foster children, whether you’ll be allowed is dependent on the type of offence and how long ago it happened.
Obviously, if the offence was one that involved violence towards a child or sexual abuse, then you will be automatically disqualified. The safety and wellbeing of children in foster care is of paramount importance.
If you have past offences and you want to find out whether they will still appear on your criminal record you can check the DBS filtering guide on the UK Government website.
What Else Do Foster Carers Need To Get Approved?
While DBS checks are probably the most important part to get right when becoming a foster carer, there are other checks that people need to go through.
For instance, all foster carers need to complete a full health check, which assesses that candidates are physically and mentally fit to foster. Fostering children can be a very challenging thing to do, especially if the foster child has emotional or behavioural issues, so foster care agencies like to make sure that people are up to the job health-wise.
As well as the health check and DBS check, prospective foster carers are also asked to undergo training and are given support from a social worker. The assigned social worker will make frequent visits after the foster care is in place and will monitor the success of the arrangement. This may seem daunting, but don’t worry. The social worker and foster care agency will make allowances if you are new to fostering for minor mistakes or oversights. They are there to support you, and you will also have access to a network of other foster carers.
Fostering children is a job that can be highly rewarding as you get to help, nurture, and support children, affecting their lives in a positive way.
If you’re interested in becoming a foster carer, one of the most important things to remember is that you’ll need to go through background checks, including an Enhanced DBS check with barred list check, as well as anyone over the age of 18 who lives or stays at your address.
If you have any questions regarding DBS checks as a carer, you can reach out to one of our experts today so we can assist you.