Sunday, January 22, 2012

Minnesota allows elder care jobs to former criminals

During the past six years, Minnesota has granted more than 15,000 waivers to people with criminal records seeking employment in nursing homes and other state-regulated care programs, state records show.
Under state law, people are automatically rejected for those jobs if background checks reveal they have committed any crime on a list of disqualifying offenses. But through a little-publicized appeals process allowed under the law, former criminals who request a second chance usually get their wish.
The most forgiving state agency among the two that grant waivers is the Health Department, which approved 75 percent of 10,000-plus appeals with little public scrutiny, records show.
More than 5,000 waivers went to people who wanted to work in nursing homes or home care agencies. Those applicants were convicted of misdemeanors to felonies, including assault, fraud, false imprisonment, forgery, robbery, theft and making terroristic threats, as well as drug and alcohol offenses, records show.
State regulators said they don't know how many of those ex-criminals actually went to work in nursing homes and other facilities because they don't track that information. They also don't follow how many of those individuals subsequently harmed their vulnerable clients or committed additional crimes
State OKs care jobs for former criminals
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