Sunday, September 26, 2010

Taking Care of Elders a Big Problem,But Should Convicted Felons Do It?

Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger on Friday called the state's inability to stop scores of convicted felons from working in its home healthcare program a "public safety crisis" and demanded that lawmakers take action to address the situation.

The governor made his comments in a letter to legislative leaders after The Times reported that people convicted of such crimes as rape, murder and elder abuse are paid to provide services for some of the most vulnerable Californians in their residences.

Data provided by state officials show that at least 210 workers and applicants with felony convictions flagged by investigators as unsuitable for the In Home Supportive Services program are nonetheless scheduled to resume or begin employment. State and county investigators have not reported many others whose backgrounds include violent crimes because the rules of the program, as interpreted by a judge this year, permit felons to work in the program.

In the letter, the governor said numerous attempts by the administration to "engage" the Legislature on the issue have failed.

"I am hard pressed to imagine that any member of the Legislature would allow a convicted sex offender to take care of their own grandmother in a nursing home," Schwarzenegger wrote. "But if the Legislature continues to resist making changes in the law, the Legislature is essentially saying it is OK for that to occur to someone else's grandmother in their own home."

Read the full story here.

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