Some Americans may think we’re the only place that worries about whether employees are background checked and verified before entering the workforce, but it’s really a global issue.
Case in point — recently, an Australian child agency came under fire when it came to light that the agency wasn’t completing background checks on foster parents (known as “carers” Down Under) as required by law.
The agency, Life without Barriers, gets a hefty chunk of change from the state (more than $100 million annually) to operate. Thus, the background check issue came to light after an audit of the organization that had grown rapidly over the past few years.
As papers around the globe are now reporting, Life without Barriers made many decisions that could have cost children their promise of a safe haven. In once instance, Life without Barriers allowed a foster parent to be part of their agency even though the parent had lost his/her children due to his/her domestic violence. Other stories are comparably horrifying.
Of the foster parents involved with Life without Barriers, over half never went through the Australian “Working with Children Check”, a comprehensive background check that’s meant to protect the kids. Even more shocking, almost two thirds of the foster parents had not gone through any kind of criminal background check.
It’s wonderful that this has come to light, but it highlights just how pervasive a problem it can be when an organization is supposed to background screen but instead takes the “easy way out”. In the end, the piper will always be paid.