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Bill Introduced Preventing People with Criminal Records from Working with Vulnerable Citizens

Three House Bills (4597, 4598, and 4599) were introduced during session on May 3, 2011, expanding the background check registry process. As introduced, the bills will flag new employees working or applying to work in nursing homes, psychiatric facilities, and foster care facilities if they have a substantiated history of neglect and abuse defined as Abuse/Neglect Class I or II. 

Definitions of abuse or neglect include death, sexual assault, serious physical injury, failing to supervise an individual which leads to serious injury, slapping, pulling, or exploitation. All of these definitions are defined within the Michigan Mental Health Code and Administrative Rules.

Too often, direct care workers get hired after they’ve been terminated for assault simply because their new employer didn’t know about their employment history. Introducing these bills is an important and vital step toward protecting people with disabilities by preventing dangerous people from working with them.

“Once these bills get passed, they may run to a new employer, but they can no longer hide their dangerous work history,” says Michelle Mull, Director of Advocacy MPAS.

Currently, teachers, store clerks, hospital personnel, prison guards and people from many other occupations require criminal background checks, yet none are required of those who care for our most vulnerable citizens – those who live in nursing homes, foster care facilities, and psychiatric facilities.

Representative Ken Kurtz (R-Coldwater) introduced House Bill 4597, which addresses employees working in adult foster care facilities. House Bill 4598, introduced by Representative Kurt Heise (R-Plymouth Township), addresses employees working in psychiatric facilities.

“I’m pleased to be a sponsor of his three-bill package that helps ensure that Michigan residents no longer need to be concerned about the work history of staff providing care to our family members and persons with disabilities,” says Representative Kurt Heise. 

Representative Leisa Liss (D-Warren) introduced House Bill 4599 dealing with nursing homes. Together, 23 state representatives have signed on in bipartisan support of the bills. The bills were assigned to the House Standing Committee on Families, Children and Senior Citizens.

"Our parents and grandparents worked their whole life to nurture and support us. House Bill 4599 is a small but important step we can take to ensure that they are protected from those who would take advantage or harm them," said State Representative Lesia Liss (D-Warren), sponsor of the bill. "When we have to place our loved ones into another's care, we trust that they will be in a safe environment. That is why this bill is so important. We need to broaden the scope of background checks to find serious cases of abuse that may not show up on a normal criminal record. There is no way anyone convicted of abuse or neglect should be working with our loved ones."

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Posted on:
December 18, 2012