By Thomas Ahern, ESR News Staff Writer
A story in the Daytona Beach (FL) News-Journal reveals that an ongoing investigation into Florida’s local child care licensing office found that some local child care facilities have not been implementing criminal background checks on all child care employees.
According to the News-Journal, files in over 100 child care centers and homes providing child care in one county were found to be “in disarray” regarding background checks and inspections because of problems with some former workers at the state Department of Children and Families (DCF). One worker was fired and two others have since resigned.
It is not clear how many child care employees without current background checks are still supervising children, the News-Journal reported, since preliminary investigations by the DCF into one of its child care licensing offices showed some DCF workers had falsified records and did not ensure that child care centers had current background checks in files.
The investigation into the office was sparked by an anonymous report about inspections not being done properly after an incident in April at one of the child care facilities in which a toddler and a 4-year-old girl walked away from the center and were gone for at least a half hour before being found by a neighbor, the News-Journal reported.
In response to a public records request, preliminary reports by DCF licensing staff released to the Daytona Beach News-Journal show that:
- Eighty-eight child care centers or homes providing child care did not have current background checks in their files.
- Fifteen checks and a money order were found in drawers or files that had either not been sent to the Florida Department of Law Enforcement (FDLE) for background checks or were not cashed by DCF for license renewals.
- In some cases, child care centers thought the employees had an approved background checks because the money was sent to DCF.
While the News-Journal reports that DFC officials have not found any indication that child safety was compromised, DCF officials have stated that not all background screenings have been completed and that it is “a work in progress.”
For more information on background checks, please visit Employment Screening Resources (ESR) at http://www.esrcheck.com.