Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Some Child-Care Workers Found to Have Police Records

Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Some Child-Care Workers Found to Have Police Records

Article excerpt

People with criminal records are finding jobs in some child-care centers, according to federal investigators. Some of the records include convictions for child abuse and assault.

For their study, obtained by The Associated Press, investigators with the Department of Health and Human Services asked the FBI's National Crime Information Center to conduct background checks on a random sample of 500 child-care providers in Nevada, Wisconsin, Missouri and South Carolina.

Using the workers' names and Social Security numbers, the center found that 39 had a total of 440 arrests, which resulted in 181 convictions for crimes that included endangering the life of a child, indecency with a child, lewdness, prostitution, theft, illegal possession of drugs or alcohol, assault and battery, robbery and arson.

In all, 61 people were identified as having arrests or convictions. Other crimes included shoplifting, writing bad checks and welfare fraud.

The workers were employed in day-care centers, Head Start centers and foster care homes, nearly all of which were licensed.

The inspector general's office did not, however, obtain fingerprints from the individuals to verify that the person with the arrest record and the child-care provider were the same.

As a result, the investigators said, their findings may be less reliable than when fingerprints are used.

Based on their analysis of the "raw" matches, the investigators said the 61 individuals had a total of 726 arrests.

In Missouri, the survey found 21 people in day-care centers or Head Start programs who had a total of 169 arrests or 72 convictions.

Missouri requires foster-care providers and employees and volunteers working in licensed day-care facilities to undergo a check against the state's child-abuse registry, the report said. Other criminal records, in Missouri or elsewhere, are not checked. …

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