Health and Family Services Cabinet
Cabinet Strengthens Child Safety Measures; Audit Serves as Tool for Improvement
FRANKFORT, Ky. (Sept. 30, 2010) – The Cabinet for Health and Family Services (CHFS) Department for Community Based Services (DCBS), announced immediate steps today to strengthen procedures to help protect children from the risk of sexual abuse, in accordance with recommendations released today by the Auditor of Public Accounts (APA).
Existing procedures include criminal background checks for state supported programs; however, the APA report identified areas for potential improvement in the comparison of registered sex offender addresses to child care and out-of-home placement providers. Utilizing data-matching technology, the APA reviewed more than 29,000 records of homes with children who have some form of state support (foster or adoptive care, kinship care or state-regulated child care.) Armed with the results of the audit and the new data-matching tools identified, DCBS reviewed the cases identified by the APA and determined that all children identified are safe, and that the new policies will help ensure children are protected from the risk of abuse.
“I am grateful to the Auditor of Public Accounts for this thorough examination of an important issue, and for providing the state with another tool to assist us in protecting children and families,” said Gov. Beshear. “My administration is committed to keeping our children safe, and this tool will help us lead the nation in these efforts. We will continue to look for ways to help ensure the safety of our most vulnerable citizens. This is a good example of how technology improves our ability to do that.”
“The safety of children and adults is and always has been our top priority,” said CHFS Secretary Janie Miller. “To that end, we must ensure we have every possible policy and procedure in place to enhance their protection and that we provide our staff with every tool available to perform necessary checks. The changes we are implementing will mean Kentucky will have among the most responsive procedures in place in the nation to assure children are safe.”
DCBS already has multiple policies in place to check for potential risks in homes where children may be in foster or adoptive care, kinship care or child care. These practices have been effective, but continued improvements are necessary to maintain the best protections for children. DCBS is implementing the following enhancements to current procedures:
─ In addition to the criminal background checks and checks of the Child Abuse and Neglect Registry already performed, DCBS will compare the address of an applicant for provision of foster/adoptive care, kinship care and registered/certified/licensed child care with the Sex Offender Registry at the time of application, as well as at the time of renewal or reassessment.
─ DCBS is working with Kentucky State Police to identify ways to streamline the Sex Offender Registry match process to make it easier to compare addresses.
─ A flier advertising the availability of the Sex Offender Registry will be provided to all parents who apply and are approved for child care subsidies.
─ DCBS will continue to explore ways to ensure that physical addresses are included as well as mailing addresses for those receiving benefit payments.
“We share with the Auditor of Public Accounts the goal of doing all we can to protect Kentucky children,” said DCBS Commissioner Patricia R. Wilson. “We appreciate this collaboration with APA to reach this common goal.”
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