We know that the process to become a foster carer can be a daunting one. With plenty of factors to take into consideration, along with DBS checks and additional in-depth assessments, it can be easy to be put off if you’re unsure.
However, it’s important to bear in mind that these checks are purely to ensure the safety of children who could be in your care, and there’s never a black and white result should there be any kind of issue.
For example, many people ask can you be a foster carer with a criminal record? The answer is very rarely a simple ‘no’. Instead, it depends on other aspects of an applicant’s life.
Can I be a foster carer with a criminal record?
Many people who are interested in becoming a foster carer might not apply because they have a criminal record. However, for many applicants, a criminal record may not disqualify them from being a foster carer.
With foster care requiring a caring personality and nurturing environment, the focus is on finding the right person. As such, a criminal record may not prevent you from becoming a foster carer.
As part of the application process, a Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) check will be carried out, both for yourself and other members of your household. This process will flag up any previous convictions or warnings issued as part of a criminal record.
It is worth noting that the sooner a criminal record is discussed, the better. This will ensure there are no delays with your application, and the Olive Branch Fostering team will always be open about how a criminal record could impact your ability to be a carer.
For many minor crimes, the answer won’t be a straight no. It will depend on factors such how long ago the offence happened and what type of offence it was. For example, if you received a caution five years ago, the likelihood is that you will be able to continue with your fostering application.
In the case of a more serious conviction, the likelihood that you’ll be able to foster will be lower. If the conviction relates to sexual assault or rape, violent crime or offences against children, you won’t be able to foster.
However, for other serious crimes, it will again depend on the offence and when it happened. The critical thing to be considered is your ability to care for a child and provide a safe environment. If your criminal record suggests that you may not be able to do so, the decision will be made in the best interests of the children.
What can disqualify me from becoming a foster carer?
When submitting your application, it’s understandable to be concerned about something that could disqualify you from becoming a foster carer. However, it most cases, there will be little that could disqualify you as long as you’re able to provide a safe and nurturing home.
Can I foster if I have pets?
In most situations, having pets will not be a disqualifying factor. In fact, pets can be an incredibly therapeutic presence for vulnerable children and at a calming atmosphere to any household.
The primary consideration here will be the safety of the child. If the animal could be a threat or your residence is home to a dog listed under the Dangerous Dogs Act, there could be a risk to the safety of a child so could become an issue in your application.
Can I foster if I can’t drive?
If you can’t drive, or you don’t have access to a car, it won’t necessarily disqualify your application. While being able to drive will definitely help in transporting children to meetings and school, it isn’t a set requirement.
Instead, you’ll just need to demonstrate how you’ll be able to get around. For many city-based families, this can be the case, and they rely on trains and buses to get around perfectly well.
Can I foster if I work full-time?
Fostering a child can itself be a full-time role, so a full-time job may not be workable, especially if you plan to be a single parent. There will be regular meetings and training sessions, and you’ll need to transport your child to school and other activities.
It may be doable in a co-parent situation where one parent remains in a full-time position, and the other is available to care for the child. With older children, it will be more likely that they won’t need all of your time, so a part-time role could be appropriate. However, it’s important that you can fulfil all duties required first and foremost.
Can I become a foster carer?
At the end of the day, the final decision will come down to what you’re like as a person. If you have caring, patient and friendly traits, it’s likely that you’ll be able to handle the role of a foster carer well.
Other personal requirements include that you are over the age of 21, but there is no maximum age limit. This is purely down to the fact you’ll need to handle tasks and situations which can be, at times, demanding, so someone who is dedicated and mature is crucial.
In addition to having the right personality, it’s also important to have the right environment to care for them. It doesn’t matter if the whole family is living at home as long as they are also safe and caring. In addition, any foster child you welcome into your home will need their own bedroom with room for bedroom furniture.
Becoming a foster carer
If you’re ready to become a foster carer, why not start the application process today? With just five steps to approval, it’s a straightforward process. The Olive Branch Fostering team will also be there every step of the way to answer any questions and offer their full support.
To get started today, simply contact our friendly team. Send us an enquiry, and we’ll get right back to you, or talk through any questions on the phone with no obligation to go any further on 01706 558910.