Sunday, June 06, 2010

Florida law strengthens background screening for caregivers

"People who care for children, the elderly and disabled in Florida will undergo stricter background screening requirements under a new law that takes effect Aug. 1.

Caregivers will have to pass a nationwide background check before they can begin working under the law, which was passed unanimously by the Legislature and signed by Gov. Charlie Crist last week. It applies to employees of day care centers, assisted living facilities, home health care agencies, and others working with children and vulnerable adults.

The law came after a Sun Sentinel series exposed flaws and gaps in Florida's screening system.

A six-month investigation by the newspaper found that convicted felons and career criminals with records for rape, child abuse and murder had been hired as caregivers. Outdated laws allowed employees to start working before a background check was made, and people with criminal histories could still work by obtaining an exemption stating they were rehabilitated."  
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