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Adoption and Children Act 2002

Section 135: Adoption and fostering: criminal records

329.The new Criminal Records Bureau (CRB) has been established under the Police Act 1997 to provide (amongst other things) for a system for vetting those who work with children, and a “one stop shop” to simplify and speed up that process.

330.The intention is that criminal record checks (known as Standard Disclosures) and enhanced criminal record checks (known as Enhanced Disclosures) should be available through the CRB on both prospective foster and adoptive parents and other adults in the same household as them.

331.Criminal record certificates cover both spent and unspent convictions, and cautions, reprimands and warnings.  Enhanced criminal record certificates also include “soft information” from local police records which the chief officer of police considers relevant.  This would include relevant matters which did not lead to a conviction.  The process would also include a check of lists maintained by the Department of Health and the Department for Education and Skills of persons considered unsuitable to work with children, under the “one-stop shop” arrangement under the Protection of Children Act 1999. Such checks for the purpose of determining the suitability of persons to act as foster parents and adoptive parents are already specifically provided for under sections 113 and 115 of the Police Act 1997.

332.Subsection (1) provides that Part 5 of the Police Act 1997, which covers certificates of criminal records, is to be amended. Subsections (2) and (3)amend sections 113 and 115 of the Police Act to make it absolutely clear that adoptive parents, foster parents and other adults in the same household are all eligible for checks under sections 113 and 115 of the Police Act 1997.

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