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7.8 Persons Disqualified from Fostering

SCOPE OF THIS CHAPTER

This procedure applies to all new applications for approval as foster carers and to all foster carers who have already been approved as foster carers.

See also Fostering Panel Procedure.


Contents

  1. Persons Disqualified from Fostering
  2. New Applications 
  3. Approved Foster Carers

    Appendix 1: Offences Against A Child (as defined in Section 26 of the Criminal Justice and Court Services Act 2000)


1. Persons Disqualified from Fostering

A person is disqualified from acting as a foster carer for the agency (unless a relative of the child or already acting as a foster carer) if (s)he or any adult member of the household has been cautioned for or convicted of a specified offence committed at the age of 18 or over.

A specified offence is defined as an offence against a child*, an offence specified in Part 1 of Schedule 4 of the Fostering Services Regulations 2011, the importation/possession of indecent photographs of a child under 16 and any other offence which involves bodily injury to a child (other than common assault or battery).

*A list of these offences is set out in the Criminal Justice and Court Services Act 2000, except that it does not include an offence contrary to section 9 of the Sexual Offences Act 2003 (sexual activity with a child) where the offender was under 20 when the offence was committed and the child was aged 13 or over. See Appendix 1: Offences Against A Child (as defined in Section 26 of the Criminal Justice and Court Services Act 2000).

In addition, a person is disqualified from acting as a foster carer for the agency (unless a relative of the child or already acting as a foster carer) if (s)he or any adult member of the household has been cautioned for or convicted of an offence specified in paragraph 1 of part 2 of Schedule 4 of the Fostering Services Regulations 2011 committed at the age of 18 or over OR falls within paragraph 2 or 3 of Part 2 of Schedule 4 notwithstanding that the offences listed have been repealed.


2. New Applications

Where Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) checks reveal that an applicant for approval as a foster carer is a disqualified person, the applicants must be advised that their application cannot proceed. This must be confirmed in writing to them, together with the reasons, and retained with their application form. The file should also be closed electronically.

Where the applicant is seeking temporary approval as a Family and Friend Foster Carer and the person would otherwise be regarded as disqualified, an application for consent to proceed with the assessment in relation to the particular child can be considered by the Areas Assistant Director on the recommendation of the Service Manager/Service Director for Fostering.

In these circumstances, the assessing social worker responsible for carrying out the checks on the prospective foster carer should prepare a report on the application setting out:

  1. The reasons for the application;
  2. The circumstances surrounding the conviction or caution which would result in the person being disqualified unless consent is given;
  3. An assessment of whether the placement would meet the child's needs despite the conviction/caution; and
  4. A recommendation as to whether the application should proceed.

The decision of the Area Assistant Director will be recorded in writing and a copy placed on the case record of the applicant. A copy of the decision will also be sent to the person concerned. The decision will also be entered on the electronic records.


3. Approved Foster Carers

Where information is provided or updating Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) checks reveal that an approved foster carer has been convicted of or cautioned for a criminal offence as a result of which he or she will become a disqualified person unless consent is given, an urgent review of the foster carer's approval should be held - see Review and Termination of Approval of Foster Carers Procedure - and a written report detailing the circumstances leading to the conviction/caution, together with background information from the foster carer's file, must be presented to the Fostering Panel as soon as possible. The report on the DBS goes to the Service Manager/ County Manager who makes a recommendation to the Assistant Area Director. The report should contain a recommendation on whether consent should be granted to allow the foster carer to continue to be approved as a foster carer for the child or children currently in placement.

A copy of the report should be sent to the Panel Manager at least 10 working days before the relevant Panel meeting.

Where such information is received, the social worker for any child currently in the placement must be informed and plans for the termination of the placement will also need to be considered as appropriate.

Where the report recommends the termination of approval of the foster carer, the report should be presented to the earliest possible Fostering Panel.

The Agency Decision Maker will consider the recommendation of the Fostering Panel on any such applications.

The decision of the Agency Decision Maker will be recorded in writing and a copy placed on the case record of the foster carer.

Written notice of the decision, together with reasons, must then be sent to the foster carer as soon as practicable.


Appendix 1: Offences Against A Child (as defined in Section 26 of the Criminal Justice and Court Services Act 2000)

Section 26 - Meaning of "offence against a child"

  1. For the purposes of this Part, an individual commits an offence against a child if:
    1. He commits any offence mentioned in paragraph 1 of Schedule 4;
    2. He commits against a child any offence mentioned in paragraph 2 of that Schedule; or
    3. He falls within paragraph 3 of that Schedule; and

      references to being convicted of, or charged with, an offence against a child are to be read accordingly.

SCHEDULE 4: MEANING OF "OFFENCE AGAINST A CHILD"

This schedule has no associated Explanatory Notes.

  1. The offences mentioned in paragraph (a) of subsection (1) of section 26 are:
    1. An offence under section 1 of the M1Children and Young Persons Act 1933 (cruelty to children);
    2. An offence under section 1 of the M2 Infanticide Act 1938 (infanticide);
    3. An offence under section 5 of the M3 Sexual Offences Act 1956 (intercourse with a girl under 13);
    4. An offence under section 6 of that Act (intercourse with a girl under 16);
    5. An offence under section 19 or 20 of that Act (abduction of girl under 18 or 16);
    6. An offence under section 25 or 26 of that Act (permitting girl under 13, or between 13 and 16, to use premises for intercourse);
    7. An offence under section 28 of that Act (causing or encouraging prostitution of, intercourse with or indecent assault on, girl under 16);
    8. An offence under section 1 of the M4 Indecency with Children Act 1960 (indecent conduct towards young child);
    9. An offence under section 54 of the M5 Criminal Law Act 1977 (inciting girl under sixteen to incest);
    10. An offence under section 1 of the M6 Protection of Children Act 1978 (indecent photographs of children);
    11. An offence under section 1 of the M7 Child Abduction Act 1984 (abduction of child by parent);
    12. An offence under section 160 of the M8 Criminal Justice Act 1988 (possession of indecent photograph of child);
    13. An offence under section 3 of the Sexual Offences (Amendment) Act 2000 (abuse of trust).

The offences mentioned in paragraph (b) of that subsection are:

  1. Murder;
  2. Manslaughter;
  3. Kidnapping;
  4. False imprisonment;
  5. An offence under section 18 or 20 of the Offences against the M9 Person Act 1861 (wounding and causing grievous bodily harm);
  6. An offence under section 47 of that Act (assault occasioning actual bodily harm);
  7. An offence under section 1 of the M10 Sexual Offences Act 1956 (rape);
  8. An offence under section 2 or 3 of that Act (procurement of woman by threats or false pretences);
  9. An offence under section 4 of that Act (administering drugs to obtain or facilitate intercourse);
  10. An offence under section 14 or 15 of that Act (indecent assault);
  11. An offence under section 16 of that Act (assault with intent to commit buggery);
  12. An offence under section 17 of that Act (abduction of woman by force or for the sake of her property);
  13. An offence under section 24 of that Act (detention of woman in brothel or other premises).

A person falls within this paragraph if:

  1. He commits an offence under section 16 of the Offences against the M11 Person Act 1861 (threats to kill) by making a threat to kill a child;
  2. He commits an offence under section 7 of the M12 Sexual Offences Act 1956 (intercourse with defective) by having sexual intercourse with a child;
  3. He commits an offence under section 9 of that Act (procurement of defective) by procuring a child to have sexual intercourse;
  4. He commits an offence under section 10 of that Act (incest by a man) by having sexual intercourse with a child;
  5. She commits an offence under section 11 of that Act (incest by a woman) by allowing a child to have sexual intercourse with her;
  6. He commits an offence under section 12 of that Act by committing buggery with a child under the age of 16;
  7. He commits an offence under section 13 of that Act by committing an act of gross indecency with a child;
  8. He commits an offence under section 21 of that Act (abduction of defective from parent or guardian) by taking a child out of the possession of her parent or guardian;
  9. He commits an offence under section 22 of that Act (causing prostitution of women) in relation to a child;
  10. He commits an offence under section 23 of that Act (procuration of girl under 21) by procuring a child to have sexual intercourse with a third person;
  11. He commits an offence under section 27 of that Act (permitting defective to use premises for intercourse) by inducing or suffering a child to resort to or be on premises for the purpose of having sexual intercourse;
  12. He commits an offence under section 29 of that Act (causing or encouraging prostitution of defective) by causing or encouraging the prostitution of a child;
  13. He commits an offence under section 30 of that Act (man living on earnings of prostitution) in a case where the prostitute is a child;
  14. She commits an offence under section 31 of that Act (woman exercising control over prostitute) in a case where the prostitute is a child;
  15. He commits an offence under section 128 of the M13 Mental Health Act 1959 (sexual intercourse with patients) by having sexual intercourse with a child;
  16. He commits an offence under section 4 of the M14 Sexual Offences Act 1967 (procuring others to commit homosexual acts) by:
    1. Procuring a child to commit an act of buggery with any person; or
    2. Procuring any person to commit an act of buggery with a child.
  17. He commits an offence under section 5 of that Act (living on earnings of male prostitution) by living wholly or in part on the earnings of prostitution of a child;
  18. He commits an offence under section 9(1)(a) of the M15 Theft Act 1968 (burglary), by entering a building or part of a building with intent to rape a child;
  19. He commits an offence under section 4(3) of the M16 Misuse of Drugs Act 1971 by
  20. Supplying or offering to supply a Class A drug to a child:
    1. Being concerned in the supplying of such a drug to a child; or
    2. Being concerned in the making to a child of an offer to supply such a drug.
    3. He commits an offence of:
      1. Aiding, abetting, counselling, procuring or inciting the commission of an offence against a child; or
      2. Conspiring or attempting to commit such an offence.

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