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

  • December 11 The Department of Health and Human Services Office of the Inspector General criticized a migrant youth detention center on the border for not running the proper background checks. Federal law requires the facility to screen all employees with FBI fingerprint checks.
  • December 06 In a bid to combat money laundering and illicit funding sources for terrorists flowing through the country's real estate sector, Singapore's government now mandates background checks for buyers purchasing properties prior to development.
  • December 04 What is a reference check? How does it vary from a work history check? We explore these questions and others.
  • December 04 Chicago Public Schools has dismissed hundreds of employees, coaches, vendors, and volunteers based on background check findings. The district recently vowed to re-check the majority of its 68,000 employees after a Chicago Tribune investigation revealed holes in its background check policies.
  • November 29 Striving to create a safer environment more conducive to productive training and leadership development, the Army has recently moved to adopt a uniform policy of background checks for certain roles. 
  • November 27 For hiring managers to verify the information provided on a resume, verification is essential.  Such is the purpose of employment history background checks.
  • November 27 California‚Äôs biggest public school district is waiving the cost of volunteer background checks. The move is meant to encourage more family - and community members to get involved with the school district.
  • November 22 Contractors play an important role in the workforce, delivering services to both individuals and organizations. Vetting contractors for suitability continues to be a challenge, as two recent articles prove.
  • November 21 When it comes to background and pre-employment checks, it can be instructive to look at the characteristics of the ten most massive U.S. employers.
  • November 21

    Verification checks are a powerful way to assess how truthful a job candidate has been on his or her application or resume. These checks can verify work history, education verification, professional licenses, and favorable personal qualities.