California Audit Exposes Poor Background Checks Performed Before Hiring For Positions Related To Elder Care
The California Department of Social Services’ Community Care Licensing Division is a sub-department that oversees 75,000 facilities throughout the state. Their essential job is to keep elders, children, and disabled members of the community safe. One of the most effective ways to do this—and one of the department’s main jobs—is to perform and evaluate background checks for applications for various facilities and a wide range of positions. It is their job to decide whether or not they will accept an individual with a criminal history or other marks on their record in certain positions, and to then screen for it if they decide they will only hire those with clean records.
Yet, a California state audit recently found that there was a great disconnect between the Department of Justice, which issues the background check, and the Department of Social Services, which reviews the background checks, screens for a criminal history, and makes an ultimate decision. This misunderstanding between the two departments has resulted in individuals with criminal background or other “red flags” being hired to perform jobs that the department would generally ask those with a different past and/or background to do. For example, due to this miscommunication, an individual was hired to work without the department knowing that this same individual was reprimanded in years prior for sexually abusing a resident in another nursing facility. In some cases, too, the department is struggling to dismiss these already-hired individuals, and it has been reported as up to four months to remove these individuals from their jobs.
This mistake has put the vulnerable individuals of our society at risk. The state has begun proposing regulations to reduce the probability of interdepartmental miscommunications happening again and, in turn, keep our communities safe. We look to lawmakers in San Francisco, California and beyond to ensure the safety of all individuals, and this can start with more intense and comprehensive background checks for those individuals who wish to care for the elderly.
If you or a loved one suffered from elder abuse in San Francisco County or in any California county, contact the Evans Law Firm elder attorneys at (415) 441-8669, or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org. Our attorneys have experience with complex financial contracts and large insurance companies. We can help guide your case through a jury trial or toward an equitable settlement. We handle cases involving physical and financial elder abuse, qui tam and whistleblower law, nursing home abuse, whole life insurance and universal life insurance, and indexed, variable, and fixed annuities.