Background Checks for Long-Term Care Workers


Background checks can be a touchy subject at times. In one state, a new background check procedure is being proposed. Yet, some are resisting the idea, because of the cost associated with the new plan.

Kentucky is looking at establishing a multi-state background check program for workers in long-term care settings. The new regulation would add voluntary FBI fingerprint criminal background checks to the current state background checks required for people who are candidates for jobs in long-term care settings.

The program is called the Kentucky Applicant Registry and Employment Screening Program (KARES). A state official says the program is designed to help reduce the abuse, exploitation and neglect of elderly and vulnerable adults. Under the program, people seeking long-term care work in Kentucky would no longer be able to hide criminal actions committed in other states.

One man recently told a legislative panel that his adult autistic son was assaulted at a day-care program 3 years ago. He says people who have loved ones in such programs and facilities should know that workers taking care of them have no serious criminal history.

Yet, the heads of some long-term care program facilities say making this background check program mandatory would prove to be expensive and make it hard for long-term care facilities to find help.

The program is not yet mandatory in Kentucky. An official with the state’s Cabinet for Health and Family Services hopes that will soon change. He says state lawmakers will be asked early next year to make the program mandatory.

One question seems to be, why wasn’t such a comprehensive background check program already in place, given the sensitive nature of some of the jobs? Some of these workers are dealing with very vulnerable people who have to be able to trust that they’ll be cared for properly.