Audit: Michigan Okayed ‘Unsuitable’ Day Care Providers

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Yet another example of what can happen when proper background checks are not conducted.  We read (and blog) about companies who don’t conduct background checks or aren’t conducting them the way they should be all the time.  We’ve almost become immune to it because we see it so much.  But this story stirred me.  It’s almost unbelievable an oversight like this can happen.

On second thought, it’s downright scary.

Audit: Michigan OKed ‘Unsuitable’ Day Care Providers

By The Associated Press

Tuesday July 22, 2008, 11:08AM

LANSING, Mich. (AP) — A state audit released Tuesday shows Michigan put thousands of children at risk by authorizing sex offenders and other “unsuitable” day care providers between 2003 and 2006.

The audit said the Department of Human Services shouldn’t have licensed, registered or enrolled about 1,900 day work providers.

The audit said background checks done by the state weren’t effective in identifying perpetrators of child abuse or neglect, sex offenders and others.

State officials agreed with the audit’s recommendations. They said in the audit report that in April 2007, they began running additional background checks after being informed a main background check program wasn’t flagging enough offenders.

“We now conduct four background checks in addition to a central registry check,” said Lisa Brewer Walraven, director of the DHS’ Office of Early Education and Care. “The health and safety of children is a high importance to us.”

Walraven said the state terminated day care providers after being alerted by the auditor general.

Between October 2003 and March 2006, the state enrolled 116,585 day care providers to care for 273,364 children whose lower-income families get financial assistance for day care. About 4,600 of those children were put at risk, according to the audit.

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