Adoption and Fostering

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You might wish to foster or adopt a child and are wondering whether your criminal record will have an impact on whether you will be able to. 

Criminal record checks

Fostering services in Scotland have an obligation to undertake statutory checks on all fostering applicants and other household members over the age of 16.

This is to enable any criminal convictions, cautions or other information held by the police, that raise issues of concern, to be explored in relation to the household’s suitability to foster and so to help prevent children from being placed in potentially harmful situations.  

In Scotland, the guidance states that local authorities should seek up-to-date enhanced disclosures every two years.

Source: Criminal record checks | The Fostering Network

Will having a criminal record stop me from fostering or adopting?

It is important for you to know that having a criminal record is not necessarily a barrier to fostering or adopting. Many factors are taken into consideration when a decision is made. For example, agencies will consider:

  • The nature of your criminal record and/or convictions
  • The scale of offending, for example, the number of offences
  • Time passed since offending
  • Your reflections on the offending behaviour today

Source: Can You Foster With A Criminal Record? | ISP (ispfostering.org.uk)

Can I foster or adopt if my partner or spouse has a criminal record?

You won't automatically be ruled out from fostering if your partner has a criminal record or past convictions. Just like if you had a criminal record, it would depend on the nature of the offence, the number of offences, time passed since the offence and their outlook on the offending behaviour now.

Source: Can You Foster With A Criminal Record? | ISP (ispfostering.org.uk)

Further information

You can find further information about fostering and adoption below:

Becoming a foster carer - mygov.scot

Adopting a child in Scotland - mygov.scot

A table with examples of appropriate language use
A table showing the notification periods for the various sentence types. Prison sentence of 30 months or more (including life), Indefinite. Order for lifelong restriction, Indefinite. Admission to a hospital subject to a restriction order, Indefinite. Prison sentence of more than 6 months but less than 30 months, 10 years. Prison sentence of 6 months or less, 7 years. Admission to a hospital without a restriction order, 7 years. Community payback order with an offender supervision requirement, The length of the offender supervision requirement. Any other sentence (e.g. a fine or admonition), 5 years.
Last updated:
February 24, 2024


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