A New Law Requires More Stringent Screening for Florida Care Providers

According to a new Florida law, which will take effect August 1, employees of day care centers, assisted living facilities, home health care agencies and others working with vulnerable adults and children will have to pass a nationwide background check before they can begin working.  The law was passed unanimously by the Florida Legislature.

Sun Sentinel, a Florida newspaper, conducted a six-month investigation into the types of people hired as caregivers.  Their investigation found that known rapists, child abusers, felons and career criminals were being hired, and that many of them began working before their background checks were completed.  People with prior criminal histories could work if they obtained a state exemption that stated they were rehabilitated.  Over 8,700 people were granted extensions, including registered sex offenders and convicted murderers.

The new law bars sex offenders and career criminals from ever working as caregivers, and a state official would have to provide any exemptions.

Frequently we have clients that are in a rush to hire a new employee.  The background screening process is not (and should not be) immediate, but accurate and thorough results are usually completed within 24-72 hours.  Factors such as court holidays, remote/small counties and court clerk searches can delay some of these results, but approximately 85% of the US records are available within a reasonable time frame.  The cost of terminating an undesirable employee, beginning the re-hiring and re-training process again, the potential negative effect such a hire could have on a company and any dangerous conditions an employee could create in the workplace, are all examples of why an employer should wait for the background report before hiring anyone. 

Don’t waste everything you’ve worked so hard for by placing the wrong candidate in a position. Quality backgrounds are worth the wait. 

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