Florida legislators pledged to overhaul state law to require that caregivers for children and the elderly undergo background checks before they begin work and to close loopholes that have let thousands of felons get jobs in day care and nursing homes.
The proposed reforms come after a Sun Sentinel investigative series last week identified disturbing flaws in the background screening system that allow people to work with Florida's most vulnerable residents before the caregivers have been vetted.
Even people with criminal pasts can qualify for jobs as caregivers by obtaining an exemption. Thousands have sought and won official permission to work despite having records for crimes including rape, child abuse and murder, the newspaper found.
"What you have discovered is something the Legislature needs to get more serious about and get on top of immediately," state Rep. Ari Porth, D-Coral Springs, told the Sun Sentinel. A state prosecutor, Porth is drafting legislation to require pre-employment checks and put restrictions on who can get exemptions.
Full Aritcle and Source:
Florida Lawmakers Vow Changes After Learning of Laxness, Loopholes, in Checking Child and Elder Care Workers
Databases: Search Criminal Records and Inspections
Felons Working In Florida Nursing Homes
Convicted Felons as Caregivers
Preying on the Frail