If any employer is still wondering whether background checks work to protect people, consider Initiative 1029 in Washington state. Back in 2008, voters overwhelmingly passed Initiative 1029, which required federal background checks and increased basic training for the people who care for seriously ill seniors and people with disabilities. The initiative received more “yes” votes than any other initiative in the state’s history. And yet, the reforms were never implemented.
In the three years legislators have dragged their feet on it, the number of crimes against seniors and the gravely ill at the hands of their caregivers has continued to rise. Residential Care Services, which investigates allegations against employees or volunteers of long-term care facilities, reported a more than 15 percent increase in citations of neglect and abuse in adult family homes, to more than 20,000, in 2010. Yet right now the state only requires a limited background check for home care workers, not an exhaustive search into their criminal records in other states.
It’s common sense, not just good business, to prevent anyone off the street to care for those who can’t defend themselves. No matter what state your business is in, you should be ensuring the safety of your customers and employees by using employment screening services that include a federal background check. It’s as simple as that.