A report released by the US Department of Health and Human Services Office of the Inspector General on Tuesday, October 1 has raised concerns about the safety and well-being of children in Connecticut day care homes. The report, which was based on inspections conducted over the past year, found violations in each of the 20 federally-funded homes included in the audit. Many of the violations involved safety issues and sanitary concerns, such as furniture that could tip over onto a child, lack of protective covers for electrical outlets, dirty floors, and used fly strips in a children’s dining area.
In addition, 40 percent of the homes had one or more residents that had not completed their mandatory criminal background checks. This naturally poses a big concern for the safety and well-being of children in those day care homes.
Criminal background checks are often used to vet employees and volunteers who work with kids. In this case, the checks also need to be used for anyone who lives in the day care home, as these individuals could easily engineer circumstances to be alone with children for the purposes of abusing them. By running a national focused background check such as US OneSEARCH, kids can be better protected from known predators whose criminal pasts indicate they may be likely to commit future crimes against kids. US OneSEARCH compares a name and date of birth against a collection of over 450 million public criminal records taken from state and local databases across the country to return a detailed picture of an individual’s criminal background.
Two of the day care homes voluntarily closed after their inspections. In one case, the day care provider was charged with risk of injury to a child and neglect due to an incident in which five children were left alone in the home. As a further result of the report, government officials are now looking for ways to help ensure that day care homes are in greater compliance with all the requirements as to the health and safety of children in their facility. The authors of the report recommended developing a mandatory training program to educate day care providers about their obligations. The training program would cover health and safety regulations as well as outline specific scenarios where a criminal background check is required to help day care home operators understand this requirement better.
State officials in Connecticut agreed with the report’s recommendations. They said they are already seeking funding to increase the frequency of facility audits and inspections from once every three years to once per year, with the expectation that this will help identify potential risks to kids earlier and provide incentives for day care home operators to improve their compliance.