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Can You Foster With A Criminal Record?

Fostering is a rewarding experience for both the foster parent and the child in need of a loving home. However, many potential foster parents wonder if they can embark on this journey with a criminal record. In this blog post, we will explore the possibilities and shed light on the question 'can you foster with a criminal record', focusing on the criteria for fostering by law, as well as the support provided by Family Fostering Partners. 


Understanding the Criteria 

Fostering agencies typically have specific criteria for prospective foster parents, and having a criminal record doesn't automatically disqualify you. At Family Fostering Partners we consider the nature and severity of the offense, the time that has passed since the incident, changes made since the offence and your overall circumstances now.  

That being said, we do not accept applications from anyone whose criminal offence is of a sexual nature, as well as any offence against a child. 

Nature and Severity of the Offense:  Each case is considered individually, taking into account the nature and severity of the offence. There are some circumstances where the response we can give is immediate, but in other cases, discussions will take place. 

Time Passed Since the Incident: Agencies often take into account the time that has passed since the criminal incident. If you've demonstrated positive changes in your life and behaviour, this will be taken into consideration when you apply.  

Overall Circumstances: Fostering agencies look at the overall circumstances of the prospective foster parent. Factors such as stable housing, financial stability, and a supportive environment are crucial. 

Open Communication is Key 

When considering fostering with a criminal record, open communication with the fostering agency is crucial. Be transparent about your past and provide any relevant details in the early stages of the fostering process. Agencies appreciate honesty and will view this as a positive step towards personal growth and accountability. 

Provide a Full Disclosure: Disclose all relevant information about your criminal record. At Family Fostering Partners, we appreciate transparency. 

Demonstrate Personal Growth: Highlight any steps you've taken to address and overcome the challenges posed by your criminal record. This might include rehabilitation programs, counselling, or involvement in community service. It could also take the shape of personal reflections.  


The Assessment Process. 

Police Checks: Anybody who is interested in fostering will be subject to checks and reference. Theses checks include Local Authority Checks, Medical Checks and a DBS (previously called a CRB) check on anyone living in your household aged 18+. Whilst this will detail previous criminal records, it’s important to be honest and upfront with your assessing social worker and give them as much information as possible. 

References and Recommendations: Strong references and recommendations can play a significant role in your application process. These can be from employers, community leaders, or other individuals who can attest to your character and suitability as a foster parent. 


The Importance of Support 

Family Fostering Partners understands that everyone has a unique background, and we aim to provide support to prospective foster parents. For example, we offer various forms of support throughout the fostering journey…. 

External Supportive Services: Foster Talk provide services to support foster parents, including counselling, training, and resources to help navigate any challenges that may arise. Click here to find out more.  

Internal Support Services: You will have the opportunity to attend regular support groups with foster parents from your local area. You will also be allocated a dedicated Link Worker who will support and guide you and your family. We also have closed Facebook groups where foster parents can share successes, tips and events! In addition to this, we also have a 24/7 on call system available to all of our foster parents.  

Training Programs: Participating in training can enhance your skills as a foster parent and demonstrate your commitment to providing a stable and nurturing environment for the child. Our Training and Retention Manager Hannah Jones tells us more about her job role and the training Family Fostering Partners offers -  

Case-by-Case Evaluation: Family Fostering Partners evaluate each case individually. Whilst we have criteria to ensure the safety and well-being of the children, we also recognise the potential for positive change.  



In conclusion, fostering with a criminal record is indeed possible, at Family Fostering Partners, we are willing to work with individuals who have demonstrated personal growth and a commitment to providing a loving home for a child in need. The key is open communication, transparency, and a dedication to meeting the criteria set by the fostering agency. 

Being able to demonstrate the changes you have made since your conviction can show the children and young people in our collective care that we are not defined by our past or the circumstances we have been in.  

If you are considering fostering with a criminal record, reach out to Family Fostering Partners to discuss your specific situation. Remember, every individual's journey is unique, and with the right support and dedication, you can make a positive impact on a child's life through fostering. 

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