The latest audit from Crit Luallen’s office underscores something that should be common sense: registered sex offender address comparisons can strengthen the monitoring process for child care and out-of-home placement providers.
But, as you know quite well, this is Kentucky. And nothing ever makes sense in Kentucky.
In the audit, which you may review below, Luallen’s concerns are addressed to Janie Miller, Secretary of the Cabinet for Health and Family Services, four findings are outlined and recommendations are made to strenthen the screening and monitoring process of homes and facilities approved by the state to provide child care services.
The audit determined: Address matches between Kentucky’s Sex Offender Registry and the address of state regulated child care homes and facilities, foster homes, adoptive homes prior to finalization and homes of relative caregivers; and the effectiveness of the CHFS screening process for applicants, as well as their review process of potential address matches found during the audit.
So, you ready for the highlights? Let’s dig in:
- 12 registered sex offenders were confirmed to be living in state regulated homes that provide care and placement services for children! Sex offenders were found living in seven relative caregiver homes within the Kinship Care Program and DCBS didn’t bother contacting the homes or conduct site visits. Sex offenders were also confirmed to be living in two foster homes and in three registered child care homes.
- The Department for Community Based Services review process was deficient in determining if a sex offender was residing at the address matched to the sex offender database. DCBS only went to one of the 30 homes with a matched address.
- The physical address data field maintained by DCBS does not provide the physical locations for all homes and facilities. That means address records for 3,266 DCBS-regulated providers didn’t indicate a physical location.
- Statutes and policies related to background checks of potential child care providers, foster homes and relative caregivers do not take advantage of the information maintained within the Sex Offender Registry. This means state law only requires criminal records and child abuse checks.
And here’s a bit of how Commissioner Patricia Wilson responded:
The matching process used by the APA shows that out of over 29,000 records reviewed from the May 27, 2009 snapshot and over 22,000 records reviewed from the February 24, 2010 snapsho, only 30 total address matches from the two dates were identified, representing less than one tenth of one percent of all records reviewed.
Because that makes it okay, right?
Criminal background checks and checks of the Child Abuse and Neglect Registry are already performed.
But there’s no search of the Sex Offender Registry, which seems like a common sense move. Fortunately, the Cabinet outlined steps it will take to improve things. And you can read all about that deep into the audit.
“Any time the state is charged with the placement and protection of our most vulnerable citizens, in this case children, every step possible should be taken to guarantee they are secure,” Luallen said. “Our audit offers numerous recommendations to strengthen the monitoring process. We are encouraged by the steps the department has already taken.”
You may review the audit by clicking here (Warning: PDF Link).
Meanwhile, we continue to shortchange social workers.
I just don’t even know what to say.
THIS IS WHY KENTUCKY CAN’T HAVE NICE THINGS!