Background checks piloted in Wisconsin to be used in other states now

Diana Marrero of the Journal Sentinel reports that a pilot program tested in Wisconsin and six other states to prevent criminals from working in nursing homes is now being expanded nationwide.

The program helps states create background check systems to screen applicants who apply to work with seniors and the disabled in long-term care facilities. Supporters say the expansion could help prevent convicted criminals from working closely with some of the most vulnerable segments of the population.

“We have a great deal of hard evidence that this policy works and protects lives,” said Sen. Herb Kohl, who authored both the measure that created the pilot program and the new law that expanded it. “Background checks have been routine for years for those who work with young children, and we have an obligation to protect vulnerable seniors and Americans with disabilities in the same way.”

The program provides states with federal funds to create systems accessing abuse and neglect registries, state police records and the FBI’s national database of criminal records. Caregivers in Wisconsin are already required to undergo background checks when seeking employment.

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