Performance Audit shows sex offenders had easier access to children in child care & foster care facilities

SALT LAKE CITY, Utah (ABC 4 Utah) – The office of the Utah State Audtior released today a performance audit of sex offenders access to vulnerable populations, all this coming about after auditors noticed several risks in other states where sex offenders were in the presence of vulnerable populations.

“We wanted to evaluate the controls that exist in Utah to ensure vulnerable populations are protected to the best that we can,” said David Pulsipher, Performance Audit Director for the Utah State’s Audtior’s Office.

The Audit found that no sex offenders were employed by any of the five school districts and four charter schools that were sampled. It also found no sex offenders working in state hospitals or developmental centers. However, that was not the case for child care and foster care facilities.

“We identified one home that’s divided into five apartments, there’s an authorized child care provider in one of the apartments. In each additional four apartments resides a registered sex offender who committed a felony sex offense against a child,” said Pulsipher.

The auditor’s office also found that two registered sex offenders lived in homes where the state had authorized or licensed child care.

The office of licensing does not regularly verify that registered sex offenders do not live in these kinds of homes and normally just run criminal background checks on the individuals living in the home.

In the past, the office of child care licensing has not checked the address of the facility itself against the sex offender registry and take the providers word when questioned about who else lives in the home.

The state auditor’s office recommends the Office of Licensing check the address of providers against the sex offenders registry to identify any potential risks.

The Utah State Auditor’s Office says it follows up within 12 months to make sure the recommendations to these agencies have been implemented. They report since the recommendations both the Department of Health and the Department of Human Services now check the providers address against the sex offender registry.

The audit also provides parents with the opportunity to search the registry for any potential risks. And also, to search their own child care providers to be aware of all the risks.

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