What in a Background Check Can Keep You From Becoming a Foster Parent?

By Beth Winston
Foster parenting is subject to strict rules.
Foster parenting is subject to strict rules.

Anyone who wants to become a foster parent must submit to strict background checks. Certain items turned up by a background check will disqualify you from being considered. Some of foster care standards are set at the federal level, and each state has its own list of disqualifying factors.

Child Abuse

A felony conviction for child abuse or neglect or other crime against children will prevent you from becoming a foster parent. All adults residing in the home must submit to a criminal background check, and the state must check that no adult living in the home has ever been on a child abuse or neglect registry.

Violence

Felony convictions for a range of violent crimes will disqualify you. These include spousal abuse, rape, sexual assault or homicide. You'll also be disqualified if you have been convicted of physical assault, battery or a drug-related offense in the previous five years.

Other Crimes

In most states a history of violent crime will disqualify you as a foster parent. Arson, kidnapping, robbery and illegal use of weapons are also disqualifying crimes in most states. Some states also include property crimes, fraud, forgery or burglary.

Other Disqualifications

Most states will disqualify anyone who is currently abusing or addicted to drugs or alcohol. It’s also often a disqualification if you suffer from a severe mental illness or emotional disorder. Some states, such as Utah, have strict rules on family circumstances. The state does not allow unmarried couples who live together to serve as foster parents. Additionally, you cannot serve as a foster parent in Utah if you have more than six children under the age of 18 in the home.