How to Adopt
The Disclosure and Barring Service
Anyone who wants to adopt a child must have a Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) check. Anyone who lives in the household over 18 years must also have this check.
The Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) helps Adoption Focus to prevent unsuitable people from adopting. It replaces the Criminal Records Bureau (CRB) and Independent Safeguarding Authority (ISA).
The DBS searches police records and barred list information, and then issues a DBS certificate to the applicant and to the adoption agency to help us make an informed decision regarding your suitability to adopt.
Having a previous conviction, caution, reprimand or warning will not necessarily prevent a person from being considered as an adopter, but it is helpful to let your Agency know as soon as possible if this is the case.
There are some offences which mean that an Adoption Agency can't consider a person to adopt.
Specific offences include nearly all crimes against children, and some sexual offences against adults. They are set out in the Adoption Agencies Regulations 2005. The offence of common assault on a child (a minor assault not involving bodily injury) is not a specified offence, and neither are offences committed before the applicant or household member was 18 years old, or non-sexual offences of violence against adults. The latter will be considered carefully when judgements are made about suitability to adopt.
When an adoption agency becomes aware that a prospective adopter or a member of their household has been convicted or cautioned for a specified offence, the agency will notify them as soon as possible that they cannot be considered suitable to adopt a child. The agency can only advise the person of the specific reasons for terminating the application.
If the DBS certificate reveals offences which are not specified, and don't stop the assessment from going any further, they may still be relevant to suitability. For example if someone has several recent drink driving or public disorder offences - this may suggest an alcohol problem.