Concerns Over Caregiver Criminals In Facilities Sparks Review
CLEWISTON, FL. -- Governor Charlie Crist has announced he will convene select state agencies charged with reviewing legal requirements for screening individuals to work in facilities that provide care to children, the elderly and persons with disabilities. The group's findings will be presented to the Governor by November 2, 2009.
Hendry county has several group homes and child care facilities who have convicted felons working at them, including one child care facility owner who has a current criminal case pending against them.
''When it comes to the safety and security of Florida's vulnerable populations, we must make every effort to ensure that their professional caregivers do not have criminal histories,'' Governor Crist said. "I want to thank the members of the media and especially the South Florida Sun-Sentinel for examining the current practice of background screening to ensure the safety of our most vulnerable individuals."
Currently, certain employees of child day care centers, nursing homes, assisted living facilities and other residential care settings must pass a criminal background check as a hiring requirement. The agencies will review the use of criminal background checks, the process for granting exemptions, and the process that allows employees to begin working before background checks are completed. The group's findings will be presented to Governor Crist to improve the safety of Florida's children and vulnerable adults by using available technology to streamline procedures and revisiting the process of granting exemptions.
The following state agencies will participate:
· Agency for Health Care Administration
· Agency for Persons with Disabilities
· Florida Department of Children and Families
· Florida Department of Education
· Florida Department of Elder Affairs
· Florida Department of Health
· Florida Department of Juvenile Justice
· Florida Department of Law Enforcement
Upon learning of the recent news reports, Governor Crist ordered a complete review of current background-screening policies. At the Governor's direction, Deputy Chief of Staff Dave Foy first met with agency representatives on August 21 to begin gathering information, which has continued during the past two months. The agencies will meet for the first time Thursday at 4:00 p.m. in the Governor's Large Conference Room.
Previous Story On Hendry's Caregiver's Criminal Histories - http://swflorida.blogspot.com/2009/09/felons-caring-for-hendrys-children-and.html