Local News

Group Pushing For Federal Criminal Background Checks

Posted May 19, 2004

— How much should adult care homes know about the criminal history of its employees? It is a question before the General Assembly.

Health advocates and state lawmakers will come together in Raleigh Wednesday to discuss a measure to make residents in long-term care facilities safer. They want national background checks on workers in addition to state criminal checks

As it stands now, only workers who provide direct care with home health care and nursing homes are subject to a national criminal background check.

State law calls for all workers in adult and nursing home care to have a national background check if they have lived in North Carolina less than five years. The obstacle is federal law does not allow the FBI to release the information to the provider for many of the workers.

Rep. Jennifer Weiss has filed two bills that could change that. One would set up a pilot program for adult-care homes. Those who provide direct care in these facilities would also be subject to a national criminal background check if they have lived in the state for less than five years.

The FBI can send criminal background information through a state agency. That is how day care providers get that information.

Weiss says she is proposing that records be routed through the Department of Health and Human Services.

The state passed a moratorium on the checks until a system could be figured out. There is also a push to lift the moratorium on checks altogether.

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