PARADE MAGAZINE ARTICLE ON KOHL BACKGROUND CHECK BILL


http://www.parade.com/news/intelligence-report/archive/protecting-the-elderly-from-abuse.html
 
March 1, 2009
 
Protecting the Elderly From Abuse
 
In 2006, a 90-year-old New York grandmother was raped by a caregiver with a criminal record. The man worked in the nursing home where she lived. Similar incidents over the years have led many to wonder how criminals end up working with vulnerable populations in the first place.

While most states require background checks for nursing-home employees, there is no national database that allows employers to check for crimes committed in other states.

Sen. Herb Kohl (D., Wis.) has introduced legislation that would require the creation of a national cross-referencing system. According to the Senate Special Committee on Aging, which Kohl leads, the Congressional Budget Office has estimated the cost at $100 million over three years. A trial program in seven states found that 7000 applicants for eldercare positions had violent criminal records or a substantiated history of abuse. Says Kohl, "This policy is more than just a good idea in theory-we've implemented it in seven states and seen the results. Comprehensive background checks are routine for those who work with young children, and we should be protecting vulnerable seniors and disabled Americans in the same way." 

- Lyric Wallwork Winik