Written By ESR News Blog Editor Thomas Ahearn
On January 31, 2022, State Auditor Kathleen McGuiness stated that “Delaware’s 19 school districts and the Department of Education (DOE) could improve their criminal background check processes for people with the opportunity to have personal contact with students,” according to 20 newly issued performance audits.
“My audit team completed 20 performance audits – one audit each of the state’s 19 school districts and one of the Department of Education – and assessed how well each entity is complying with state laws and regulations regarding required criminal background checks,” McGuiness stated in a news story about the audits.
The audit team examined background check samples from each district and the DOE, then tested each entity’s internal controls by reviewing provided documentation to see whether management had determined if each employee, contractor, volunteer, or student teacher was permitted by law to work with children.
While every entity audited had internal controls in place for following the criminal background check process, the audit team “discovered that districts’ management teams were using a wide variety of processes and procedures, and opportunities existed to improve districts’ internal controls,” McGuiness said.
“In all cases, once we determined compliance with federal and state background checks, then the key factor we were looking for was whether management documented its review of those background checks and actively determined the person was suitable to work with children, which is what the law requires,” McGuiness said.
“The goal here is to ensure Delaware’s students are protected from potential exposure to people with a known criminal history of harming children,” McGuiness said. All 20 performance audits – which can be found on the Auditor’s Office website under “Performance Audits” – contain findings and recommendations for improvement.
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