Written By ESR News Blog Editor Thomas Ahearn
On January 27, 2022, Assembly Bill 1720 (AB 1720) was introduced in the California State Assembly to affect criminal background checks at community care facilities and create a fair chance for people with arrest and conviction records to access caregiving jobs governed by the California Department of Social Services (CDSS).
The California Community Care Facilities Act requires the CDSS to license and regulate community care facilities and conduct criminal background checks on all applicants for licenses for these facilities and on specified individuals connected with these facilities, including employees, volunteers, and officers of these facilities.
The Act – which was enacted in 1973 – prohibits persons with certain criminal convictions from obtaining a license and further prohibits these specified individuals from being present in a community care facility before obtaining either a criminal record clearance or a criminal record exemption from the department.
AB 1720 would require the CDSS to grant a simplified criminal record exemption to an applicant for a license or permit to operate or manage a community care facility and the specified individuals connected with these facilities. The bill would prohibit the DSS from requiring applicants for a license to disclose their criminal history.
AB 1720 would also require the CDSS to post information on its internet website at www.cdss.ca.gov concerning applications, including the total number of applicants for initial certification. In addition, the bill would require the department to publish data in aggregate and without any personally identifying information.
Lastly, the bill would require the CDSS to collect the specified demographic information about individuals subject to criminal background checks and to issue a report, on or before January 1, 2024, determining whether this data shows demographic disparities within the existing criminal background check process.
“The exemption process is burdensome for both DSS and exemption applicants and can take more than 75 days to complete, that would mean 75 more days of unemployment – we just cannot afford that,” California Assemblymember Chris Holden, who introduced AB 1720, stated in a press release about the bill.
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