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DBS checks for role of foster carer

Do those working as foster carers need DBS checks? 

To ensure the utmost safety for all involved, companies offering fostering roles must ensure that their foster carers are appropriate for the task. This involves a thorough assessment of the carer’s qualifications, experience, and character to ensure that they can provide a stable and secure environment for the foster children. The vetting process may include background checks, interviews, and reference checks, among other measures.

DBS checks represent the most effective method for fostering providers to assess the suitability of individuals seeking to become foster carers. Such checks enable providers to access information on prospective applicants’ criminal history, including any convictions or cautions that may disqualify them from fostering.

Foster Care – kinds of DBS Checks  

The Basic DBS Check provides a limited overview of an individual’s criminal record and is restricted to disclosing only unspent convictions held on their record. This type of check is typically required for positions that involve minimal contact with vulnerable groups, such as administrative roles or those involving finance.

The Standard DBS Check is a more comprehensive level of check that reveals both spent and unspent convictions, as well as warnings, cautions and reprimands that an individual may have received. This type of check is often required for positions that involve regular contact with vulnerable groups, such as healthcare workers or teachers.

The Enhanced DBS Check is the highest level of check available and provides access to the same information as the Standard Check. However, it also includes any related police notes and offers an option to check the DBS barred list. This type of check is typically required for positions that involve working closely with vulnerable groups, such as children, the elderly, or individuals with disabilities. 

For complete approval as a foster carer, it is necessary to undergo an Enhanced DBS Check with barred list check. This is because individuals who appear on the barred list are restricted from working with kids and vulnerable adults. Anyone found working with them could get prosecuted.

Getting a DBS Check as a Foster Carer

When seeking to become a foster carer, it is essential to have the standard and enhanced DBS checks conducted on your behalf. These checks require third-party verification for certain questions, making it impossible to complete them independently.

The responsibility of applying for the required standard and enhanced DBS checks falls on the foster provider or social work organization, who should ensure that the process is completed correctly.

Importance of DBS Checks in Fostering

Fostering young adults and kids is considered a form of “regulated activity,” necessitating comprehensive checks to ensure the safety of those involved. Individuals seeking to engage in this type of work must undergo thorough screening to establish their suitability. 

During the fostering process, the “Enhanced DBS Check with barred list check” becomes relevant for assessing suitability and ensuring the safety of all parties involved.

It is crucial to complete these checks thoroughly before starting the fostering process to ensure safety. Sometimes, not just the applicant but also family members and friends undergo rigorous checks. 

Individuals applying to foster must disclose their criminal record (if any), which will be discussed and assessed by the relevant regulating body.

Disclosing Criminal Records 

To determine if one has a criminal record, they can consult the UK government’s Disclosure and Barring Service filtering guide online. This resource can also be used to verify if earlier convictions are still present on an individual’s criminal record. 

It is evident that individuals with prior convictions related to child abuse, sexual offenses, or direct violence towards children will be automatically disqualified from fostering, as well as from most positions involving kids and young adults. Such offenses carry severe restrictions due to the importance of safeguarding vulnerable individuals.

Other factors 

As part of the application process, it is crucial for all foster carers to undergo a comprehensive health check to ensure they possess the physical and mental fitness necessary to fulfil their duties effectively. 

Prospective foster carers who are deemed suitable for the role will receive training and ongoing support from a dedicated social worker. This support aims to ensure the well-being and happiness of both the foster child and the carer throughout their fostering journey.

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