West Virginia Adds New Criminal Background Check Program for Caregivers of the Elderly

By Michael Klazema on 8/13/2015
According to a recent announcement from the West Virginia Health and Human Services Department, the state will soon begin implementing a new criminal background check program meant to protect the elderly and other vulnerable adults from dishonest and unsavory caregivers. The program will be called the West Virginia Clearance for Access: Registry and Employment Screening, or WV CARES.

Since taking office as West Virginia's Governor in November of 2011, Earl Ray Tomblin has made the protection and welfare of the elderly, the mentally handicapped, and other vulnerable populations a major focus of his administration. Earlier this year, Governor Tomblin affixed his signature to the WV CARES legislation, which, according to a report from the Bluefield Daily Telegraph, a local West Virginia publication, will be slowly "phased in" over the course of a six-month period.

Under the WV CARES system, applicants seeking to work with vulnerable adults through long-term care services or facilities will be required to undergo fingerprint-based criminal checks at both state and FBI database levels. Under the legislation, a number of different services are considered as "long-term care facilities," including nursing homes, home health caregiving companies, and hospice home care services. The goal is to cut down on the amount of neglect, abuse, theft, fraud, embezzlement, and exploitation of seniors and other vulnerable adults.

It's not difficult to see why the WV CARES legislation passed both the State Senate and House of Representatives with unanimous approval. Headlines about vulnerable adults being abused or exploited are all too common. Seniors especially often become the target of thieves and embezzlers, who will devise different methods of emptying savings accounts, forging checks, and stealing social security payments. While many long-term caregivers are honest, compassionate, and caring, there is no denying that professionals in these jobs are in the perfect position to take advantage of their patients in a covert fashion. In-depth criminal background checks will hopefully help long-term care facilities spot red flags and disqualify applicants with sinister ulterior motives.

Laws mandating background checks for the caregivers of vulnerable groups, not just seniors and other vulnerable adults, but also child daycare providers, are becoming more and more common nationwide. Still, such requirements are still not observed nationwide, despite the fact that professions closely related to long-term, healthcare, education, etc., demand background checks almost across the board. As such, West Virginia's new program for running background checks on all long-term care providers is a big victory in the fight for senior safety. Hopefully, the next few years will see laws like this becoming the standard from coast to coast.


Tag Cloud
Recent Posts

Latest News

  • March 20 Employers who use E-Verify must follow the proper steps and procedures when they receive a “tentative non-confirmation notice” from either the Social Security Administration or Department of Homeland Security. Failure to follow the proper procedures can cost employers both time and money. 
  • March 20

    Four Department of Commerce employees are out after their background checks resulted in security clearance denials. All four had worked high-ranking positions for months despite incomplete background checks.

  • March 15 As more states legalize the recreational use of cannabis, they contend with the emergence of new industries surrounding marijuana cultivation and production. 
  • March 14 In most cases, it is easy to determine where an issue might show up on a pre-employment background check. Citations for traffic violations or reckless driving charges will appear on a motor vehicle record check. Verdicts in a civil court case will show on a civil court background check. And criminal convictions—from petty theft to violent felonies—show up on criminal background checks.
  • March 13 How many years back do employment background checks go? This question can have multiple different answers depending on the situation.
  • March 13 A new bill in Florida would require landlords of apartment complexes to present tenants with verifications of employee background checks to give them peace of mind the people working in and around their homes are trustworthy.
  • March 08 Police officers working with the University of Texas at Arlington recently arrested a man who had avoided police capture on a warrant out of Oregon for nearly two decades. The man, whose real name is Daniel Charles Ray Hanson, spent those 17 years using a variety of fake names and identification documents to move around the country, often engaging with educational institutions under false pretenses. Police say Hanson regularly went by at least three different aliases. He sports a rap sheet that stretches back to an arson conviction in 1995. 
  • March 07

    The Future of EEOC Guidance in Texas Is Up in the Air

    The EEOC issued guidance in 2012 warning employers about the dangers of enforcing categorical policies to bar candidates with criminal histories. That guidance is not enforceable in Texas thanks to a recent court ruling.

  • March 05 Vermont is the latest state to restrict employers’ access to and use of social media accounts of employees and applicants. 
  • March 01 In an age of "industry disruptors" turning established business models on their heads, companies such as Uber and Lyft rely on a unique workforce of individuals outside the traditional employer-employee context. Uber calls them "partners" while other businesses refer to them as "independent contractors," the official classification these individuals use for tax purposes. Recently, the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) revealed they had warned a business, Postmates, for misclassifying their staff as independent contractors. In the NLRB's determination, these individuals were employees.