BOSTON (MyFoxBoston.com) -- State Auditor Suzanne Bump is asking a state agency to regularly cross-reference the addresses of registered sex offenders and child care providers following disturbing new information revealed in an audit.
The recommendation was made to the Department of Early Education and Care on Wednesday after an audit revealed 119 instances where the address listed for a Level 2 or Level 3 sex offender was the same as an EEC-licensed child care provider.
Bump's office also says that in four of the 119 cases, the EEC revoked the provider's license because its operators had prior knowledge of the registered sex offender status, but did not report it to the department.
While CORI checks are required, the EEC is not required to conduct any Sex Offender Registry Information (SORI) checks of or matches of "child care facility operators, workers, or people living in an at-home day care," according to a release from Bump's office.
Bump is calling for SORI checks to be required in addition to CORI checks. However, her audit also alleges that the EEC is not ensuring child care providers are conducting CORI checks on their staff. Audit findings suggest CORI checks had either expired or not been conducted in 10-percent of the cases evaluated.
Tom Weber, the Acting Commissioner of the Department of Early Education and Care, issued a written statement Wednesday afternoon that read, "With respect to Sex Offender Registry Information checks, EEC is working closely with the Executive Office of Public Safety and Security to ensure the Department has access to the information it needs to run periodic checks of licensed care provider addresses against information made available by the Sex Offender Registry Board to ensure the safety of children. "
The department will follow through on policies and procedures consistent with the report's findings in order to ensure that children's safety remains their top priority, Weber added.
Among other changes, Bump is recommending that the EEC require background checks on all child care staff, rather than only those likely to have unsupervised contact with children.
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