Report Slams Screening of California Private In-Home Care Workers

Lax state oversight of in-home health care agencies is allowing private caregivers with criminal backgrounds to work with the elderly and disabled, according to a Senate report issued Thursday. A Senate Office of Oversight and Outcomes review of Craigslist.org advertisements for in-home caregivers uncovered five confirmed cases in which the individuals offering services had extensive criminal records, including arrests for burglary, narcotics trafficking and prostitution. It also found that more than 25 percent of caregivers identified in media reports as being convicted or accused of wrongdoing on the job had previous offenses on their records.  “Without criminal background checks, these consumers may unwittingly open their homes and finances to those who have shown a willingness to exploit or harm others,” the report says. California is one of six states that do not regulate private in-home caregivers. While the state now screens workers providing care for the mostly low-income, blind, disabled and elderly Californians enrolled in the In-Home Supportive Services program, a similar screening system does not exist for private providers.

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