Placement with parents regulations: do parents need a DBS check?

The Department for Education (DfE) has recently provided new advice on Placement with Parents regulations with regard to DBS checks.

What is ‘placement with parents’?

When parents have their own children returned to them after being in local authority or social services arranged care, it’s known as ‘placement with parents’.

A child who is subject to a care order or interim care order can only be placed with a parent in accordance with specific Placement with Parents regulations.

This process is governed by the The Care Planning, Placement and Case Review (England) Regulations 2010.

In this legislation, ‘parents’ are defined as either:

  • A person who is the child’s birth parent
  • A person who has parental responsibility for the child
  • A person who held a child arrangements order in relation to where the child was to live (previously known as a residence order) immediately before a care order was made.

Placement with Parents regulations and DBS checks

The DfE has confirmed that birth parents and other adults living in the household are not eligible for standard or enhanced DBS checks.

However, under the Placement with Parents regulations, local authorities must obtain information about any unspent convictions or cautions the parents have before children can be placed back with them.

Local authorities can obtain this information via the following two routes:

  • By asking parents to apply for a basic disclosure (currently provided by Disclosure Scotland) which will show details of any unspent convictions or cautions.
  • The Public Protection Units (PPU) of police forces can release the information via a Direct Police Check under arrangements allowed by the Home Office circular 047/2003.

Fostering positions and barred list checks

The DfE also provided advice about access to barred list checks for fostering positions.

They confirmed that people can only be fostered if they’re aged under 18. Fostering arrangements involving adults are not possible, so any fostering-related role will be in the child workforce.

A children’s barred list check is available for prospective foster parents, other adults living in their household and nominated individuals undertaking specific functions which count as regulated activity with children as part of the fostering arrangement.

A check of the adults’ barred list is not available, as these roles all fall into the child workforce.

To summarise…

Parents having their own children returned to them under the Placement with Parents regulations are not eligible for standard or enhanced DBS checks.

Local authorities must obtain information about unspent convictions and cautions through other means.

A check of the adults’ barred list is not available for individuals carrying out fostering roles – but they are eligible for a check of the children’s barred list.

If you need clarification or further information on this, you can contact the DBS by emailing customerservices@dbs.gsi.gov.uk.